India is emerging as the world’s biggest COVID-19 hotspot in August. Despite a number of public health preventive measures being practised, the upsurge is not yet sieged. Of several preventive public healthcare measures being practised ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, wearing the face mask is supposed to be the most effective, feasible and affordable measure, which needs public attention and adaptation.
Wearing a face mask in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent inter-human transmission. This inexpensive practice, in conjunction with social distancing, and other procedures is the most likely opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a face mask is not only useful to prevent infected coughing droplets from reaching uninfected persons, but is also crucial for these uninfected persons to avoid breathing the minute atmospheric particles (aerosols) that infected people emit when talking and that can remain in the atmosphere tens of minutes and can travel tens of feet.
Also, wearing a mask protects one from getting infected from others and the vice-versa. These are scientific reasons behind wearing a mask. Experts are unanimous that alone mask-wearing can reduce 60% chances of infection. Mask wearing is a much-needed behaviour change to fight COVID-19 infection. We need to take a pledge to wear mask religiously and be the part of the campaign — ‘Mask is Must’. In the next six months, it must be the moral responsibility of every Indian to ‘Ask for Mask’ with fellow citizens to put a full stop on the surge of this pandemic.

WHO Changes Stance, Says Public Should Wear Masks

The World Health Organization has changed its stance on wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. People over 60 and people with underlying medical conditions should wear a medical-grade mask when they’re in public and cannot socially distance, the WHO
said. The general public should wear a three-layer fabric mask in those situations.
The WHO also updated their advice for medical workers, saying all of them should always wear a medical mask while in clinical areas, not just people working with COVID-19 patients. READ MORE

WHO’s New Guidelines for Wearing Masks

In its new guidelines, the WHO has said, “Masks can be used either for protection of healthy persons (worn to protect oneself when in contact with an infected individual) or for source control (worn by an infected individual to prevent onward transmission).”“The WHO has developed this guidance through a careful review of all available evidence, and extensive consultation with international experts and civil society groups,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom

WHO’s New Guidelines

The new guidelines on face masks are a move away from what WHO said previously. So far, it maintained that there was not enough evidence to suggest that healthy individuals should wear masks and encouraged the use of medical face masks only by those who were sick or caring for the sick. Now, in the revised guidelines it suggests that everyone should wear fabric masks (non-medical) in public. Fabric masks should contain at least three layers of different materials. On the other hand, any person showing the symptoms of COVID-19 should wear a medical mask apart from self-isolating and seeking medical advice as soon as they feel unwell. It has advised governments to encourage the general public to wear masks where there is a widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult such as while using public transport, in shops or other confined environments. Further, in areas with widespread transmission, WHO advises medical masks (surgical or procedure masks that are flat or pleated) for all people working in clinical areas of a health facility and not just workers dealing with patients with COVID-19. READ MORE

What Fabric is Best for a Mask?

Cotton seems to be the fabric of choice for making cloth masks, but a single layer of cotton on its own doesn’t fare very well in preventing particles from getting through so be sure to use multiple layers of it. How many layers? Well, in general, the more
easily you can see through a fabric when holding it up to a light, the more layers of that particular fabric you need to create an effective mask. Using this guide, a pillowcase likely would require fewer layers than a bandana, which may require fewer
layers than a t-shirt. READ MORE