Mask or No mask for COVID-19 : A public health study.

Globally, efficient strategies to contain the COVID-19 pandemic are being put to practice to relieve the negatively impacted public health and global economy, with the full scope yet to unfold. With the vaccine, having seen the light of day, there is still a long way to go. In the absence of abundant medical resources, many measures are used to manage the infection rate and avoid exhausting limited hospital resources.

Wearing Masks is among the non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) measures that can be and have been effectively implemented at a minimum cost and without dramatically disrupting social practices.

Despite debates in the medical community and among the global audience, most countries have been seconding and following the recommendations or mandates of wearing masks in public.

Given the current global health scenario, it is imperative to evaluate the potential impact of the utilization of Quality Masks in public to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Three key factors that contribute to the effectiveness of wearing a Quality Mask in reducing the transmission risk, include awareness about the right quality mask, awareness about the right way of wearing the mask, and availability of quality masks for full population coverage.

Studies have time and again indicated, that wearing a face Quality Mask can be effectively combined with social distancing to flatten the epidemic curve. Wearing a mask, is arguably the single most rational way to implement, as an NPI to combat COVID-19.

NPIs with potential public health benefits and little social and economic burdens, such as MASKs are the answer to the global economic crisis too. Risk assessment studies using population transmission models suggested that the population-wide use of quality face masks could have drastically delayed and reduced  the impact of the pandemic.

Though the COVID-19 transmission mechanisms are dynamic and are still under investigation, but considering potential transmission routes being common among most contagious virus(s)/flu like SARS, MERS, Influenza, etc – it is safe to put on record that MASKS ARE THE NEW WAY OF LIFE, as they play at least two critical roles in viral transmission prevention in the general population. First, Masks can impact turbulent gas cloud formation and respiratory pathogen emission. Research demonstrates that masks can either block the rapid turbulent jets generated by coughing or redirect the jets in much less harmful ways for airborne infection control. Second, the mask material can filter viral particles such as aerosols or droplets, subject to the quality of the material. Additionally, for asymptomatic infected individuals, wearing a mask can potentially reduce the risk of infecting other people when the exact individual wears a mask to protect him or herself.

For all respiratory diseases including COVID – 19, that caused by a rival agent through aerosol and droplet transmission routes, Wearing Masks is the most reasonable NPI to reduce the virus transmission efficiently. However, Masks do not replace social distancing and other personal hygiene practices, such as hand washing. The effectiveness of any NPIs depends on compliance rates, contact rate reduction, the role of children, and asymptomatic cases in transmission, which directly points towards individual awareness level and responsibility.

Bottom Line.

No Mask = Public Health Hazard ,

Mask = Choosing Safety,

Right Mask = Choosing Safety Wisely!