COVID-19: Focus on masks and respirators – Implications for oral health-care workers
Mulder van Staden, Sune
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The emergence of the novel human coronavirus (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; abbreviated as: SARS-CoV-2) generally known as COVID-19 is a global health concern.1 On 11 February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) named the novel viral pneumonia as “Corona Virus Disease” (COVID-19). The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) suggested this novel coronavirus be named “SARS-CoV-2” due to the phylogenetic and taxonomic analysis of this virus.2 Thus, both terms are utilised interchangeably in the literature. Undoubtedly, COVID-19 will change the way we practice dentistry with vast implications for Oral health-care workers (OHCW) and practice staff. Additionally, if rigorous safety protocols are not implemented based on a risk assessment outlined by the CDC, the dental practice can potentially become a nexus for disease transmission due to the high volume of aerosol production on a daily basis. Personal protective equipment (PPE), staff training and practice disinfection protocols have now especially become important in the light of the current pandemic. This is not a fight that one profession can fight alone, it requires joint efforts, it requires all stakeholders, it requires foresight and it requires us to put the health of the communities above all else.