Masks have become more of a pandemic-approved accessory lately and less of a tool for protection against the deadly Covid-19 virus. It’s alarming due to the new revelations about mutated strains in 2021.
- Not all masks offer protection from Covid-19. Cloth masks offer close to none.
- People flouting mask norms have been the biggest problem of governments trying to control Covid-19 case surge.
- In Delhi, approximately 6 lakh people were fined this year for not wearing masks
- Does adding more layers while wearing masks increase effectiveness in protection from Covid-19?
- The correct way to wearing masks and which mask should you go for – surgical or N95?
Today, India is in a state of do-or-die, and the reason behind this chaos is each of us. We all are responsible for the second wave. Despite saying a million times, people are still waltzing on the streets without wearing masks, as if it’s like another sunny day. Some are (even today) wearing masks below the chin as if they are some sort of displayed mannequins in the mall.
Admittedly, the Indian government has failed egregiously this time by taking erroneous decisions impetuously all its way during the second wave. Looking at today’s country’s suffering, it’s certain that the pandemic is nowhere close to the finishing line, but it’s just getting started, and becoming more dangerous and a lot scarier as each day goes by. Frankly speaking, a majority of the people in India have taken this deadly virus so sparsely that it led to brutal chaos in the countryYou will find more infographics at Statista
Masks are not one of those fashion accessories from your wardrobe. You are asked to wear masks for a reason, to protect yourself from life-threatening coronavirus. Those who don’t understand this are not only putting their own lives in danger, but also beloved family members, friends, and the people around in their community.
Some Indian states have taken stern action against people for not wearing masks and contravening the lockdown curfew. Case-in-point, Odisha CM has initiated a ‘mask abhiyan’ to ensure people follow the Covid-19 rules properly. For those who aren’t following basic protocols like wearing masks, the police officials are fining them.
On Official Puri Police Twitter Handle, they also shared one incident saying, “On being brought to our notice, we have fined our own Traffic constable ₹2000 for not wearing a mask. And he, as a responsible citizen, has paid. Wear Mask always; Or Pay the fine. There is no alternative.”
Now in Odisha state, for the first two violations, citizens have to pay INR 2000, and INR 5000 for more than two violations. Previously, the fine was INR 1000 but people have taken the virus issue so lightly that it made the Odisha government take action seriously by increasing the fine amount.
In Delhi, the situation is even worse, where approximately 6 lakh people were fined this year for not wearing masks and not complying with Covid-19 norms, says a report. In adherence to mask-wearing, the Delhi High court has ordered that people traveling by cars should also wear masks.
Places like California, Hong Kong and New York haven’t lifted mask restrictions despite the ongoing inoculations. Whether you are traveling, visiting the nearest supermarket, working in office spaces, and at any sort of gathering, everyone must wear masks and follow necessary pandemic norms.
“Given how interconnected most transportation systems are across our nation and the world when infected persons travel on public conveyances without wearing a mask and with others who are not wearing masks, the risk of interstate and international transmission can grow quickly.”CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH
To put the current situation in simple words, irrespective of wherever you go, or travel by whatever means, you have to wear a mask. As simple as that.
Watch: How face masks protect you and help stop spread of COVID 19
Good news your way but don’t ditch masks
The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has come up with new guidelines for all those who got completely vaccinated. Earlier on Thursday, the CDC said, those who are fully vaccinated can start doing their daily activities in a usual manner without wearing a mask or following physical distance, except when federal governments or local officials want you to wear masks at certain places.
Recently, some states have also lifted mask restrictions, while a few are still following Covid-19 norms carefully. Most of the state officials have also responded to the new CDC guidance. For instance, Governor Andrew Cuomo says, “In New York, we have always relied on the facts and the science to guide us throughout the worst of this pandemic and in our successful reopening. We have received the newly revised guidance from the CDC regarding mask-wearing and social distancing for those with vaccinations and are reviewing them in consultation with Dr. Zucker and our partners and health experts in surrounding states.”
Governor Andy Beshear says, “We are so close to normalcy and we are going to be changing. Kentucky mask mandate to be the same with those CDC guidelines. This means, you have to go and get your shot of hope, if you haven’t. There are hundreds of thousands of available appointments right now to get vaccinated. If you get vaccinated, the CDC says that it’s safe to take that mask off.”
Does Type of Mask Matter?
Yes, the type of mask matters. According to several studies, masks with at least 2-3 layers would lower the chances of getting coronavirus. As we know that Covid-19 spreads from one person to another in the form of air droplets while talking, speaking, sneezing, and coughing, now certain reports have also reported that coronavirus can spread through aerosols as well if inhaled.You will find more infographics at Statista
“CDC recommends that non-essential travel be avoided; however, for those who must travel, additional measures are being put in place to help prevent the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Walensky. “Masks are most likely to reduce the spread of Covid-19 when they are widely and consistently used by all people in public.” So, it’s important to be aware of whether the type of mask you wear is a proper one or not. Even though you are hale and healthy, or fit and fine, you still have to wear a mask to protect yourself from the fatal coronavirus.
Here are different types of masks:
- Cloth mask: These masks seem better off than nothing, but the filter efficiency of cloth masks is between 35-50 percent. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a life-threatening one, and to contain this dangerous virus, cloth masks are no good.
- Surgical mask: Also known as medical masks, these are worn by doctors during surgeries or at work while treating patients to obviate from getting infected with germs or any sort of virus. During the pandemic, these masks are commonly used everywhere. Although it could filter large droplets in the air to an extent, these masks couldn’t protect you from smaller droplets emitted by sneezing or coughing.
- Respirators or N95 masks: N95 and other FFP2/3 forms are highly recommended masks by every medical expert. These masks can give you maximum protection with a filter efficiency rate of 95 percent. Even if you wash these masks, the filter efficiency remains more than 90 percent.
Watch the video below to know the basics of wearing a mask. For more details about the fabrics of the mask, you can check the WHO-recommended videos. If you want to know the basic details of various masks, you can check here. Finally, to know when and how to wear masks, visit the WHO site here.