New Delhi: The COVID-19 situation in India continues to remain grim as the country recorded more than 3 lakh coronavirus infections for the fifth day in a row. India on Monday (April 26, 2021) recorded, yet again, the highest single-day spike with 3,52,991 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the total active cases to 28,13,658.
Following these figures and after reviewing the situation, the government on Monday said it is time for the citizens to start wearing masks inside their homes as well, and refrain from inviting guests.
While addressing a press conference in Delhi, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul said, “if there is a COVID-positive person inside the house, he or she must wear the mask so as to prevent other family members from getting infected.”
“Rather, I’ll say that the time has come that we start wearing masks even otherwise inside our homes. We used to talk about wearing it outside homes, but the way the infection has spread, it will be better if we wear facemask inside our homes if we are sitting with someone,” he said.
Why did Dr V K Paul make this recommendation?
This statement by NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul comes days after a study published in ‘The Lancet journal’ which said there is consistent, strong evidence to prove that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, behind the COVID-19 pandemic, is predominantly transmitted through the air. Paul added that people should also avoid stepping out of their houses unnecessarily and not invite guests at home.
Additionally, it is a known fact that COVID-19 spreads majorly from person to person through respiratory droplets. Many people, who are COVID-19 positive, are asymptomatic and they can continue to spread infection unknowingly, which is one of the reasons why it is observed that, in the second wave, the entire family tested positive even when the majority of them stayed inside.
Why did the Centre make this recommendation in the second wave of COVID-19?
It has been observed that in the second wave of the coronavirus, India’s vulnerable population are exhibiting severe symptoms. The hospitalisation and death toll in the current wave is overwhelming for the country’s healthcare facilities.
The usage of facemask will not only protect the person who is wearing it but also the ones around him/her. Hence, many can say that the recommendation is aimed at not only breaking the COVID-19 transmission chain, but also protecting the individuals who are at higher risk.
What studies did the Centre cite while making this recommendation?
The government, while addressing the press, cited data collected by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Service. The data suggested that there is negligible risk of transmission between two individuals if both are wearing masks and are keeping 6 feet distance between them.
As per the data, the risk is low (1.5%) when both individuals are wearing facemask, medium (5%) when only the infected individual is wearing a facemask, high (30%) if only the uninfected individual is wearing a facemask, and highest (90%) when both the individuals are not wearing a facemask.