Do You need to wear facemask in the Unlockdown phase of COVID-19 in India?

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Do You need to wear facemask in the Unlockdown phase of COVID-19 in India?

Do You need to wear facemask in the Unlockdown phase of COVID-19 in India?

Do You need to wear facemask in the Unlockdown phase of COVID-19 in India?

In the early phase of COVID -19 Center for Disease Control (CDC) advised that the face mask was only necessary for the health workers. But in April this was changed and it was advised that everyone should wear the face mask.

Now in India we are going through the unlock down phase although the incidence of the disease is increasing. There has been lot of confusion over the type of face mask and their use.

These days it is not uncommon to find people not wearing face masks in the public place.

Let’s have a look at some scientific recommendations and their implication in our present setting –

  • CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Cloth face coverings may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.
  • Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.
  • Cloth face coverings should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

What is the different types of masks commonly available?

People have been using a different types of masks when they are out in public places. Most commonly they are either cloth masks or surgical masks or N95 masks.

The surgical masks and N95 masks are costly and these are in short supply. These should be worn by healthcare workers. The general public do not need to wear either surgical mask or N95 masks.

Evidence for Effectiveness of Cloth Face Coverings

Cloth face coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face-covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control. This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of cloth face coverings is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Who should wear a face mask?

  • Everyone going out in public places and when around people who don’t live in your household should wear a cloth face-covering especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and do not know that they are infected. That’s why it’s important for everyone to wear cloth face coverings in public settings and practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people).
  • While cloth face coverings are strongly encouraged to reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recognizes there are specific instances when wearing a cloth face covering may not be feasible. In these instances, social distancing should be considered whenever possible.

Who Should Not Wear a Cloth Face Covering

Cloth face coverings should not be worn by:

  • Children younger than 2 years old
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing
  • Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance

So although we are in unlockdown period make sure when you are going out in public places you must wear a facemask which you can wash and reuse it. General public does not need to wear either a disposable surgical mask or N95v type masks.

Dr.Rakesh Rai. MS, FRCS, MD, ASTS Fellow

Consultant HPB & Transplant Surgeon

Mumbai.