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March 31, 2020

Importance of Masks for Curbing the Spread of Coronavirus: Government of India issues a Manual on Home-made Masks.



New Delhi, March 31, 2020 — The Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India has issued a detailed manual on home-made masks: “Masks for Curbing the Spread of SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus”.

Quoting the World Health Organization, the manual states that “Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.”

• “Analyses show that if 50% of the population were to wear masks, only 50% of the people would get infected by the virus. Once 80% of the population wears a mask, the outbreak can stop immediately.”

On Why Wear a Mask?, it says that the “COVID-19 virus spreads easily from person to person contact. Virus carrying droplets dry fast enough to form droplet nuclei and remain airborne, eventually landing on different surfaces. The SARS-CoV-2 virus causing COVID-19 has been detected in aerosols for up to three hours and on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for three days.”

The guidebook says that Masks lower the chances of coronavirus entering the respiratory system through droplets still in the air from an infected person. According to the manual, reducing the chances of inhaling the virus by wearing a disposable mask, or a home-made protective cover cleaned thoroughly using a combination of heat, UV light, water, soap, and alcohol, will be vital to stopping its spread.

The manual provides a simple outline of best practices to make, use, and reuse masks. Wearing of masks is especially recommended for people living in densely populated areas across India.

• View or Download the Manual.

Meanwhile, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), USA, has issued the following statement on the use of face coverings by the general public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Potential spread of COVID-19 by pre- and asymptomatic individuals is a significant concern as we look to prevent COVID-19 infections and reduce transmissions. Policies to adopt the widespread use of face coverings by the general public are a potential intervention to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“State and territorial health officials’ primary goal in the COVID-19 response is to mitigate and suppress the spread of COVID-19 so that communities may re-open, recover, and rebound. Despite insufficient evidence on the use of face coverings by the general public to reduce transmission of COVID-19, the widespread use of face coverings by the public as a tactic may help achieve these goals. The use of face coverings should be a complementary strategy for existing or new mitigation efforts. Covers should not be seen as a replacement for physical distancing measures and self-isolation when sick. Also, officials should ensure that the widespread use of face coverings does not adversely or unintentionally impact mask supply for healthcare, public health workers, and others on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.

“Finally, clear instructions should be provided to the public in appropriate literacy levels and multiple languages on face-covering use, as well as recommendations for cleaning and disposal.”

ASTHO is the US national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States. It also represents more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ.


Editor's Opinion

Various local administrations worldwide may contemplate making wearing a mask mandatory during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reducing the chances of exhaling or inhaling the virus by wearing a mask is crucial to arrest its spread. StumbleUpon reddit Facebook Google Plus Tweet This Seed This on Newsvine

Edited & Posted by the Editor | 2:37 PM | Link to this Post

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