Should myeloma patients continue to wear masks despite mandates ending?
Mask Mandates Expire Across the Country
In this week's episode, myeloma expert Dr. Brian G.M. Durie discusses if patients should continue to wear N95 masks.
The BOTTOM LINE: Even though mask mandates are ending, myeloma patients should continue to wear high quality N95 masks in situations where exposure is likely.
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This week's "Ask Dr. Durie" comes from a patient with a very topical and important question. What should myeloma patients do as these mask mandates disappear?
This is a very important question for myeloma patients. Masks have been an important tool throughout this COVID-19 pandemic. As we're moving to a phase where many individuals are not going to be wearing masks, how should myeloma patients react to that?
Well, first of all, it has to be said that if a myeloma patient has been vaccinated and boosted, and maybe even had the Evusheld monoclonal antibody treatment—one or two doses—they should be quite well protected against COVID-19 infection.
However, there is a concern right now about yet another new variant, the BA.2 variant, and so with this possibility, patients need to be alert about the status of infection in their community. We do know that if you're protected and get infected the risk of being hospitalized or having severe disease even for myeloma patients is relatively low. However, it is good to avoid COVID-19 infection.
Some are developing what's called "long COVID" with a variety of complications; fatigue, tiredness, and a variety of different complications that occur in the aftermath of having a COVID-19 infection.
The BOTTOM LINE: For myeloma patients, I strongly recommend that in all situations where you might be out and about or meeting with people, especially indoors, myeloma patients wear a mask and the best quality mask that you can get — an N95 or something of that type. And so please don't throw away your masks just yet.
Professor of Medicine, Hematologist/Oncologist, and Honoree MD at the University of Brussels, Dr. Brian G.M. Durie is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Scientific Officer of the IMF. Dr. Durie is also the Chairman of the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG)—a consortium of more than 250 myeloma experts from around the world—and leads the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative® (BSRI).