Due to the fast spreading Omicron variant of Corona virus, the threat of third wave in the country has been deepened. It is being stated that if occurred at all, the third wave can reach its peak in the month of February, 2022. Many state governments in India have started imposing restrictions once again.
The most important instruction in the advisory of the government is to strictly wear a mask, apart from staying away from crowds and practising all the hygiene related rules. But how many people are there who actually follow the rules of wearing a suitable mask properly. Most people feel that wearing a mask suffocates them. Salute is to the medical personnel and doctors who are wearing masks and protective kits the entire duration of their duty in the hospitals or elsewhere.
They have to wear a double mask instead. When awareness and strictness about masks increased last year, people especially women started wearing fashionable masks. These beautiful looking masks are usually made of normal cloth.
But about how effective such masks are in preventing Corona, a professor at Oxford University says that if they are made of double or triple layered cloth, then it is fine, otherwise single layer cloth masks are of no use. Fashionable masks made of simple cloth do not meet medical requirements, while N95 respirator masks makers have to ensure that they filter 95 percent of the particles.
The ‘EkDesh’ organisation conducted a survey in 18 cities of India. According to this report titled ‘ApanaMask’, 90 percent of Indians are aware of the importance of masks, but only 44 percent people take the trouble of wearing a mask. The logic of those who do not wear masks is often that they feel uncomfortable wearing it.
50 percent said they had trouble breathing. 45 percent have the misconception that they follow social distancing so they don’t need a mask. The youth in the age group of 26-35 were least bothered, they felt that there was no need for a mask. People in the age group of 36-55 years were more conscious about masks.
50 percent of people wear masks the whole time when they are out of the house. Women wear masks in a better way than men. Broadly speaking, it can be said that half of India does not wear masks and the other half wears it half way.
Experts around the world agree that wearing a mask can protect health and slow the spread of COVID. This is because the Corona can spread through respiratory droplets when coughing, sneezing or speaking. A mask can prevent these droplets from reaching the mouth or breath.
But, no matter how good the mask is, it will be effective only if it is worn properly. The mask must be large enough to cover the mouth and nose. Its structure should be such that there is enough space in front of the mouth so that there is no discomfort in breathing and speaking. The front part of the mask should never be touched by hand. To take off, the string behind the ear should be held, not the whole mask. It is a good habit to wash or sanitise hands with soap before wearing.
Writer is a senior journalist & columnist.
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