Everyone should wear masks, says Pinarayi Vijayan

A KSRTC driver wears a protective mask and uses a hand sanitiser to prevent contracting coronavirus at Ernakulam. File

A KSRTC driver wears a protective mask and uses a hand sanitiser to prevent contracting coronavirus at Ernakulam. File   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

Health experts stress the need for use of non-medical masks in public spaces

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Friday that considering the state of COVID-19 transmission, everyone should start wearing masks.

He said there seemed to be some confusion regarding who should actually be wearing masks but that according to the latest opinion of experts, everyone — not just healthcare workers — should be wearing masks.

The Chief Minister set off debates over the topic instantly because there is still no consensus even globally on whether the public should be encouraged to wear masks.

While there is an argument that any kind of mask would reduce the potential risk of virus transmission through the respiratory droplets that are given out by a person while talking, there are also experts who feel that masks could lend a false sense of security to the wearers and they might relax on the other protocols such as social distancing.

Everyone should wear masks, says Pinarayi Vijayan

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States and the World Health Organization have been maintaining that healthcare workers and patients’ caregivers should be wearing masks and that healthy individuals need not wear masks.

However, earlier in the week, international media reported that the CDC might be altering its official guidelines that during the ongoing pandemic, the public should be encouraged to cover their faces. However, those who encourage the public to wear masks also specify that medical masks should be left for healthcare workers who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 from patients.

Several experts have come out openly to say that during the ongoing pandemic, even when social distancing should be practised strictly, every individual should be encouraged to wear non-medical cloth masks while they are out in public spaces. Care should be taken that these are washed and disinfected regularly.

The story of the Czech Republic, which managed to “flatten the curve”, after the government ordered on March 18 that none should step out of their homes without masks, has been doing the rounds in international media. George Gao, head of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview to the Science magazine last week that the big mistake in the U.S. and Europe was that people were not wearing masks.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 3:11:26 PM |

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