Many concerned asthma patients are now asking their doctors about the mask vouchers. “They are really worried and wondering why they are considered at high risk by the German government”, says Marek Lommatzsch, specialist in pulmonary medicine and professor at the University of Rostock. People with asthma are actually not part of the group of people at high risk from COVID-19.
Asthma does not increase COVID-19 risk
“The overwhelming majority of people with asthma are at the same risk as the healthy general population”, says Roland Buhl, specialist in pulmonary medicine and professor at the University of Mainz. Regardless of severity, asthma is not an independent risk factor for severe COVID-19.
The Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) released a statement on 24 November 2020 concerning risk groups that should receive FFP2 masks. “In this statement, asthma was cited as a risk of severe illness – without any evidence”, said Lommatzsch in response to a query from ECARF.
A statement issued by the German Respiratory Society (DPG) claims the opposite – and supports its conclusions with high-level scientific studies (high-level evidence). As a result, the federal government has now implemented an expensive measure that is not based on any evidence, says Buhl.
Who is at risk?
Patients with the following lung diseases are at a higher risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus or becoming seriously ill:
- Advanced interstitial lung disease (such as pulmonary fibrosis)
- Lung cancer
- Patients who have received a lung transplant
People with asthma should still use FFP2 masks more frequently in everyday life for the protection of everyone in Germany. However, there is no need for them to worry about an increased risk.
Balz S. DGP: Vouchers for FFP2 masks to protect against COVID-19 – people with asthma are not at higher risk. Press release of the German Respiratory Society, 5 February 2021. [In German] Last retrieved on 7 February 2021
German Respiratory Society (DPG). “Statement on FFP and surgical masks for the general population”, 26 January 2021. [In German] Last retrieved on 8 February 2021
DPG. Reply to ECARF email query on 9 February 2021