The government-appointed India’s Covid task force on Monday urged people to stay indoors and said that the time has come to wear masks even at home. NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul said if there is a COVID-19-positive person inside the house, he or she must wear the mask to prevent other family members from getting infected.
"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 a mask inside our homes if we are sitting with someone,” he said.
The advisory comes as the coronavirus situation remained grim in the country with the daily COVID-19 infection tally and death toll touching new peaks in the past few days. On Monday, India recorded 3,52,991 fresh new cases while active cases have crossed the 28-lakh mark.
Apart from protecting the person who is wearing a mask, it also protects others from getting infected. COVID-19 primarily spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets which travel into the air when you cough, sneeze, talk, shout or sing. Wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing can prevent these droplets from landing in the mouths or noses of other people.
Recently a study published in The Lancet journal said that there is consistent, strong evidence to prove that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is predominantly transmitted through the air, making a stronger case for wearing a mask. Researchers at the University of Oxford in the UK also highlighted that transmission rates of SARS-CoV-2 are much higher indoors than outdoors.
The government also used the data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Service to claim that wearing mask indoors. According to the data, wearing a mask is a simple but powerful action to slow the spread of this virus. It can decrease the spread of COVID-19, especially among people who are not yet showing symptoms of the virus when worn consistently.
A study of Chinese families in Beijing said that wearing face masks at home might help ward off the spread of COVID-19 infection among family members living in the same household. This practice was 79% effective at curbing transmission before symptoms emerged in the first person infected, but it wasn’t protective once symptoms had developed.
We have also seen in many cases that if a person from a family gets infected, the entire family turns positive in the following days. Dr. VK Paul pressed emphasised that large number of people are not showing any symptoms, and those people unknowingly transmit the infection at home even faster. So, wearing mask at home is crucial as even talking can cause the transmission. Its the primary reason why families even though staying indoors are getting infected from the virus.
Looking at the ongoing crisis in India, as health infrastructure has crashed with people dying due to non-availability of beds, oxygen and life-saving drugs. It becomes more important than ever to wear mask at all times, whether home or outdoors.