“Not only outdoors, Masks now essential to wear at home too”: Govt

On Monday,India for the fifth consecutive day reported more than 3 lakh cases in a day.

The nation is battling to contain the spread of the second wave of COVID-19 and this time even the government has admitted that the wave carries a potential threat. In what comes as a caution for Indians, the Centre on Monday has asserted that not only outside but, it is high time to start wearing masks even at home.


Addressing a press briefing on India’s current pandemic situation, Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog, said people should not unnecessarily step outside home, wear a mask and should not call anybody to come over their place.  


"If anyone from your tests positive for COVID-19, it is vital to wear a mask even indoors because this virus is transmissible and can harm others at home too. I would rather go on to say that the time has come that we start wearing a mask at home even otherwise," Dr Paul said.


He added that as of now, we are just concerned to wear mask outdoors, but since the infection has spread at a massive level, people should wear it while at home.


He further added that mask is essential to be worn by the infected patient and should also stay in isolation in a separate room. As a precautionary measure, other family members must also wear a mask at home.


Referring to studies, Joint Secretary Union Health Ministry, Luv Aggarwal said, "By not following physical distancing one infected person could infect 406 people in 30 days. Reducing physical exposure by 50 per cent, one person can only infect 15 people in 30 days. Reducing the physical exposure by 75 per cent, one infected person can only infect 2.5 people in 30 days."

He said that people must understand the importance of following Covid appropriate behaviour in controlling and managing the infection. He pointed out that a mask coupled with physical distancing can lower the transmission risk. "Both a Covid infected person and an uninfected person not wearing a mask or maintaining physical distance have 90 per cent risk of virus transmission. There is a 30 percent risk of transmission when the infected person is not wearing a mask and the infected person is wearing a mask. There is a medium risk (five percent) of transmission when an infected person is wearing the mask and uninfected is not wearing," Aggarwal said.

He stated: "Transmission risk becomes low (1.5 percent) when both the people are wearing the mask. There is a negligible or lowest risk when both (infected and uninfected person) are wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance of six feet."

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Dr. Paul clarified that women can take the Covid vaccine during their menstrual cycle. "Yes, women can and should take the vaccine during the menstrual cycle. There is no reason to postpone the vaccination," he Paul said.

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said that unnecessary panic among people is creating a rush at hospitals, shortage of drugs and oxygen. "Unnecessary panic causing rush outside hospitals, shortage of essential drugs and oxygen. Misuse of oxygen is a major factor. If the saturation is 94 percent or above, then there's no need to worry," Guleria added.

Aggarwal said, "Maharashtra has the highest active caseload with 7,00,207 active cases, followed by Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. Most of the states have crossed their highest reported daily cases during September last year."

"Eight states -- Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu -- have more than 100,000 active Covid-19 cases," he said.

He explained that the union government is working on three strategies to contain the virus spread -- Containment, Clinical Management and Community Engagement -- across the country.

On Monday,India for the fifth consecutive day reported more than 3 lakh cases in a day.


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