India joins growing list of nations advising the public to wear mask in public

  • 3 months   ago
mask for coronavirus
India has joined a growing list of nations advising the public to wear a mask in public, reversing the earlier stand pushed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that masks are required only for the sick or those caring for them. 
 
A Times of India mailer titled The Corona Letter states that the Union health ministry's advisory on Saturday said: "It is suggested that people who are not suffering from medical conditions or having breathing difficulties may use the handmade reusable face cover, particularly when they step out of their house. This will help in protecting the community at large."
 
The use of a mask by the general public gained acceptance after recent research showed the prominent role of asymptomatic carriers in spreading the coronavirus. 
 
An asymptomatic carrier is a person who is infected with the coronavirus but does not show symptoms that are associated with the disease the virus causes, Covid-19, such as cough or fever. An asymptomatic person could, however, spread the virus.
 
Yet, the public is not advised to buy medical-grade N95 masks or its equivalent. While these masks keep out most airborne particles — 95% efficient when tested against very "small" particles of approximately 0.3 microns — their large-scale use by those who are at relative safety would cause a supply shortage, depriving those who require them the most — doctors and medics. It may also be akin to bringing a cannon to a knife fight. 
 
Further, recent studies such as one at Cambridge University have found that a home-made mask can significantly reduce the number of microorganisms expelled by the wearer. 
 
Cambridge University has shown that a couple of layers of cotton, like a T-shirt, would work great. A Shenzhen hospital scientist showed a couple of layers of paper towel worked great.   
 
There are several DIY instructions on various sites that actually show a combination of things but requiring no tools other than a pair of scissors to make a face-mask.
 
According to experts, the primary transmission of Coronavirus is now known to be droplet-based, and it is now known that transmission largely occurs in the first seven days after infection, when people are largely asymptomatic. 
 
A health expert explained, “So that means that if someone is highly infectious, he probably won’t know it. We should all assume that we are potentially lethal to people around us. The way we are potentially lethal to people around us is when we speak: that’s when these micro droplets get ejected up to six feet.”
 
“If you’re speaking, and you put a couple of layers of cotton or paper towel in front of your mouth, the droplets go into that and not into the face of the person you’re speaking to. That’s why masks dramatically help reduce the spread of the virus.
 
It is like a bowler and a fielder in a cricket. And the masks are all about trying to keep the bowler from bowling the ball. There are more bowlers than we realize on the field, and if we need to all wear masks in order to keep the them from bowling, then so be it,” he added;
 
India's advisory on homemade masks follows similar recommendations issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 
 
The CDS is "advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others." 
 
India recommends keeping two such masks, so that there is one handy while the other is washed and cleaned.  
 
However, there are some dos and don'ts one has to adhere to: 
 
  1. Avoid touching the mask when in use as particles accumulated outside could transfer to your hands.
  2. Make sure it covers the mouth and nose properly.
  3. Try best to use disposable masks and trash it in a covered bin, after use.
  4. Finally, do not share your personal mask with others.

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