Bhubaneswar: Since the advent of the novel coronavirus, masked human faces across the world have increased probably billion-fold. The mask sellers are making a killing across the world, selling the products three-four times their original prices. Some retailers are even hoarding masks so that they get even better prices taking advantage of panic-stricken people. But then are masks necessary or can it prevent a person from being affected by coronavirus?
Well according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and experts in the field of medical sciences, the answer is a simple and big ‘NO’.
Here’s what the WHO has to say regarding the use of masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are attending to a person with suspected COVID-19 infection. It should be an N95 mask as it manages to obstruct and kill 95% of the virus. But then constant wearing and opening of the mask with hands should be avoided as it increases danger to others as some virus in the form of droplets can accumulate on the outer surface of the mask. Others may get affected from it.
Doctors have also prescribed people to wear a mask only if that person is coughing or sneezing, that too till the person is tested for the disease.
WHO has also said masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. If someone wears a mask and then constantly uses unclean hands to take it off, it is better not to use masks. Also if you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
People currently are using five types of masks. They are N95 masks; 3-layered surgical disposal masks, sponge masks, cloth masks and those that use their handkerchiefs as masks and tie it to the back of the head as protective measures.
Among the five, types from number two to number five are not beneficial at all says virologist Dr Susrut Banerjee. According to him most of these types of masks cannot even prevent dust allergy let alone the attack of the coronavirus.
“People are wearing masks without knowing the utility of the various types,” Dr Banerjee has been quoted as saying by a website. “There is no scientific proof that surgical or cloth masks can prevent a person from getting infected by coronavirus. It is just a wrong notion,” he adds.
PNN & Agencies