Experts agree on masking up and ventilation in current Covid Scenario

Masks have become a debate once again, along with when to use them and how to set mask rules. We may be in the third year of the pandemic, but this issue has just resurfaced following an increase in cases across the country, including the National Capital Region, where authorities have enacted harsh mask restrictions.

Furthermore, experts in public health stress that the necessity of ventilation to control transmission is being overlooked in the clamor over whether masks should be required.

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“It’s important to be sensible and understand the risk factors — if you’re indoors, it’s better to wear a mask. If it’s crowded, even more so. Without worrying about a particular variant, a good mask, when worn properly, will protect you,” says virologist Dr. Shahid Jameel, a research fellow at Green Templeton College, Oxford.

According to epidemiologist and public health specialist Dr. Chandrakant Lahariya, rather than reinstituting mask laws, this is the time to nudge people toward voluntary masking, “especially focusing on encouraging vulnerable people to wear masks in crowded places and indoor spaces.” The use of the face mask, he adds, is determined by local transmission rates and other contextual factors.

Calibration with Situation Needed

There must also be calibration according to the circumstances, according to Dr Gagandeep Kang, a virologist. “If there are a lot of infections, everyone should cover (unless you want to get infected).

Masks, vaccines, or prior infections can’t guarantee you 100% protection from infection. They all lower the risk of infection and transmission, therefore matching the situation is critical. She had tweeted lately that masks, vaccinations, and past infections can’t promise complete protection against disease.

Experts believe that the pandemic’s early stages made it more difficult for India to have an acrimonious and at times violent debate over masking, as occurred in the United States.

“At this point, with most of the country vaccinated, enforcing masking punitively will likely backfire. The Union government should emphasize the positive aspects of masking, especially in crowded situations, but try to ensure that there is no over-reaction on the part of states,” says Gautam Menon, professor of physics and biology at Ashoka University, specializing in infectious disease modeling.

The lack of attention to ventilation despite the fact that there is so much evidence that enclosed, indoor locations heighten the chance of infection has also been widely criticized. “Unfortunately, we are not seeing the degree of collaboration around ventilation that we should be. This is a shame since ventilation is an underutilized treatment,” Menon adds.

At the end of April, both the British and US governments announced that they would resume aid in response to constituent pressure. “All people must select a better ventilated and spacious place to socialize,” says Dr. Lahariya.

All of these precautions are critical, and they must be accompanied by clear messaging from all stakeholders that the epidemic is not yet over. Dr Jameel adds:

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