As the number of positive cases of coronavirus in India rise to 298, with four deaths reported so far, the face masks are selling like hot cakes. While face masks don't guarantee a cent per cent guarantee of not being infected from the virus, they are certainly effective in capturing the tiny droplets, the main transmission route of COVID-19. However, mask-wearers must keep in mind that aerosols, or as the tiny droplets are known, can penetrate the masks.
Worryingly, aerosol particles could also be transmitted through eyes.
Where masks can prove effective is in controlling the spread of virus, if around those already infected or showing symptoms. If someone is exhibiting symptoms, face masks can help in keeping the virus from being transmitted to other people.
The Guardian cited certain studies as claiming that wearing a mask could afford a five-fold protection from virus, versus no protection at all.
The World Health Organisation has issued the following instructions on the usage of masks in these times:
- If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.