FFP2 is gradually becoming the European trend against the Omicron variant, which is even more contagious and transmissible than Delta. Shaped like a duckbill, the mask is composed of a face piece (half mask or full mask) and a filtration device, with a filtering capacity of 94% of particles of 0.6 micrometer (μm). However, the effectiveness of a mask against the coronavirus depends both on its filtration and its fit on the wearer’s face. While the surgical mask filters well (95-98% of 3 μm particles depending on the type), it tends to be quite loose. Another advantage: its duration of protection can go up to eight hours, against four hours maximum for the surgical mask.
Enough to charm a lot of European countries – Italy has made it compulsory in particular for going to the theater, the cinema, the museum and on public transport. Ditto for Austria, where the FFP2 mask is compulsory in all enclosed places.
Around 20 million FFP2 produced in France per week
Problem for France, its production of FFP2 masks in the territory has fallen by 90% compared to the end of 2020 in the face of competition from Asia. That could change, however, as hospitals, which are big buyers, start to take into account the origin of production of the mask, after the government issued a circular to that effect.
The sector, which was « almost at a standstill for lack of demand », today has a production capacity of around twenty million FFP2 masks per week, according to the president of the French manufacturers’ union, which ensures that the factories can adapt if necessary.
“We can build new machines, for example, to increase production capacities”, he says, as soon as the sector “fully controls production, from raw material to finished product”.