With the alarming increase of COVID-19 cases globally and Unlock 4.0, despite the official guidelines from WHO and our government, there are many doubts around the usage of masks. Would a face mask decrease the number of people infected by infectious mask wearers? If yes, what type of masks? Is there a suitable alternative for surgical masks, when and where should I wear a mask?
How wearing a mask can prevent COVID-19?
It’s become common knowledge now that wearing a mask is the ultimate necessity to prevent the spread of the virus. It’s time to embrace the mask through some facts.
Among all the COVID-19 patients in India 80% of the patients are asymptomatic as in initially they do not produce any symptoms of the virus.
There are emerging evidences that silent carriers among healthy people, who show little or no symptoms are significantly contagious. The studies generated on oral fluid droplets with laser lightning scattering by researchers have stated that some masks have the ability to block the larger respiratory droplets around you.
As seen below, we as a country have prioritized the norm of wearing a mask consistently in all the public places. Though the cases are constantly increasing, on the brighter side, we have been fortunate enough to have lower death rates in this pandemic.
With the announcement of Unlock 4.0 Guidelines, we have been following the most effective norms such as practicing physical distancing, sanitizing our hands frequently and wearing a Mask but the real question is –
When/where and how do we wear a mask?
Through the shifting guidelines, there has been a lot of confusion on where and when to wear a mask in a public place.
Public place means any place that is generally open and accessible to people such as roads, metros, parks and beaches. Private properties, where members have access to avail the public services are also considered to be public places.
Below are a few examples of where to wear a mask:
- A retail business store
- A public and private service company
- Government offices and regulatory bodies
- Business that deals with Personal care services such as salons, gyms, etc.
- Entertainment sectors: Shopping malls, theaters.
- A place of worship
- Restaurants or bars
Should you wear a mask while in a car?
- If you’re the only person then – No need to wear a mask
- If you’re with your family member who is not affected – No need to wear a mask
- If you’re with a member who isn’t your family member and might/might not be affected –Wear a mask
- If you are interacting with a person sitting in the car and speaking to other people outside the care without practicing social distancing – wear a mask
Should you wear a mask while during a walk, run or exercising?
It truly depends on the number of people around you when you are outside. The risk of transmission is higher with greater density of people. On the contrary, with the revised guidelines of Unlock 4.0, the WHO as advised NOT to wear a mask while exercising in the GYM as it may reduce the ability to work out and breathe comfortably.
The preventive measure during exercise is to maintain physical distance of at least one meter away from others.
Should you wear a mask while using the public Transportation services: Train, Metro and Bus Stations and Airports ?
Yes, we should wear a mask irrespective of the contaminated zone or not, it is extremely important for everyone to wear a mask and practice social distancing while using any means of transport as the risk of transmission varies from one containment zone to another.
- Use the website: www.covidhotspots.in to track the various contaminated zones while you are travelling
- Use the Arogya Setu App as it reveals the COVID cases registered within the given radius of your location while you are travelling
Does the type of mask matter?
Undoubtedly the surgical masks have proven effective in preventing the virus, however, the increased demand for N95 masks and the limited supply of masks had caused a legitimate concern on how people can prevent the risk of spreading.
The surgical masks and N95 masks are usually for healthcare workers. On the contrary, It’s important to realize that wearing any kind of mask consistently and comfortably which covers the nose and the mouth will be of greater benefit to reduce the rate of risk significantly.
There are many suggested alternatives, But the most prominent one would be cloth masks find the below video:
On that note, as we are approaching Unlock 4.0 we recommend you follow 3 steps to ward off – COVID 19: Wear a mask, Washing your hands, Watching your distance. Stay safe and let’s hope through the conducted testing the vaccine is found as soon as possible.