Using masks to stop community transmission? While there is no doubt that using masks may help prevent Coronavirus transmission, the impact of the pandemic could have been eliminated if enough people wore masks while venturing out.
Using masks to stop community transmission? While there is no doubt that using masks may help prevent Coronavirus transmission, the impact of the pandemic could have been eliminated if enough people wore masks while venturing out, the Indian Express reported citing a new study by researchers from universities in Arizona, Harvard and Sydney. It said that in a city like New York, if 70 per cent people had worn a professional mask, the outbreak could have been eliminated from the city while the similar results would have been achieved if 80 per cent people across the United States have used masks daily.
If not professional masks, low-quality home-made masks are also expected to lead to a significant decline in transmission. Homemade face masks, despite being three times less effective have proven to be adequate. This along with other interventions would help in achieving elimination, the report said. According to the report, using face masks is helpful especially when the coverage level is high. It further stated that 45 per cent of the deaths projected for next two months is likely to be prevented considering 80 per cent US citizens wear masks. It added judicious use of masks is necessary at least till next 12-18 months before vaccines are available in the market.
The report mentioned that if a large number of people use masks, this can also help in reducing the lockdown period too. “Face masks are a valuable tool to reduce community transmission,” Jeremy Howard, author of the study told the IE. However, one needs to ensure all social distancing practises and maintain hand hygiene.
Most importantly, the report highlighted that masks offered two way protecting. Citing Dr Jagmeet Singh, professor of cardiology at Harvard Medical School, it said that it prevents people suffering from infection in transmitting to others and protects those who may be exposed to someone with possible contagion.
It is to note that the Coronavirus is transmitted to droplets present mainly in the air. The droplets are released when a person coughs or sneezes. Wearing a mask would prevent the dispersion of droplets into the air.