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Are Homemade Masks Effective To Fight Coronavirus? Experts Explain

Experts and doctors explain the effectiveness of a homemade mask to fight coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus: Women SHGs Make 39 Lakh Masks, 10000 Litre Sanitiser
Highlights
  • An advisory has been put out on the use of homemade protective cover
  • These handmade masks, however, are not meant for health workers
  • Experts say homemade masks are effective if right material is used

New Delhi: With the number of cases increasing for COVID-19 in India every day and mounting evidence that the virus responsible, SARS-CoV-2, can be spread by the infected person even before they develop any symptoms, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended on April 3 that every person is needed to wear a cloth mask or coverings if stepping out in public places. Soon, the directions were followed by India and on April 4, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare put out a detailed advisory for homemade masks and how one can make it at home. The Union Health Ministry advisory said, “To slow the spread of coronavirus, it is suggested that people who are not suffering from medical conditions or having breathing difficulties may use the handmade reusable face cover, particularly when they step out of their house. These handmade masks, however, are not meant for health workers or those working with or in contact with COVID -19 patients or those who are patients themselves as they are required to wear specified protective gear.”

Also Read: Coronavirus Testing Strategy Revised In India, ICMR Decides To Test More In COVID-19 Hotspots

Amid the concerns related to coronavirus pandemic, NDTV speaks with doctors to know are homemade masks really effective? If yes, what material one should use to make a DIY (Do-it-Yourself) homemade mask.

Also Read: Myths About Coronavirus: From 5G Network To Exposure To High Temperature, Here Are Some COVID-19 Mythbusters From WHO

Dr Manoj Goel, Pulmonologist, Fortis Hospital says,

Homemade masks can protect you from getting an infection. You can either use a handkerchief or a bandana or can simply use a towel. But what is important is that you have your mouth covered when you step outside your house. Coronavirus is a very new virus and till now, across the world, everyone is trying to find out solutions to deal with it. One of the most important cure of this infection is maintaining the right kind of personal hygiene.

Also Read: Fight Coronavirus: Union Minister Smriti Irani’s DIY Guide On How To Make A Homemade Mask

On the other hand, Dr Surender Purohit, Ophthalmologist, Michigan adds,

Think of you and others as the carriers, once you see everyone around you as the carrier of the infection, you will automatically take necessary precautions. We have seen in the recent past that most of the COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t show symptoms for the infections at all, which means at some point they will be doing activities like a healthy person like stepping out in public, but the fact is they are still the carrier of the infection and can infect many around them. In this scenario what works best is that people should come out wearing homemade cotton masks.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak: Understanding What Is Flattening The Curve And Its Importance

What Materials You Should Use For Preparing Homemade Mask?

After US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended using homemade masks, Wake Forest Baptist Health (medical center located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina) studied the effectiveness of using homemade masks with different materials. The researchers in the study claim that the best-performing design for homemade mask which seems to be effective in filtration process is constructed of two layers of high-quality, heavyweight “quilter’s cotton” (fabric used for making a quilt) with a thread count of 180 or more, and those with especially tight weave and thicker thread. A double-layer mask with a simple cotton outer layer and an inner layer of flannel also performs well. Whereas, the inferior homemade masks are those which consist of single-layer or double-layer designs of lower quality, lightweight cotton.

Dr. Scott Segal, chair of anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist, who conceived the idea for study mentions a pro tip and says,

Hold a fabric which you will make your mask with and do a quick light test. If light passes really easily through the fibers and you can almost see the fibers, it’s not a good fabric. If it’s a denser weave of thicker material and light doesn’t pass through it as much, that’s the material you want to use.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak: Experts Explain What India Needs To Focus On, In Its Fight Against The Pandemic

Even the Confederation of Medical Association of Asia and Oceania (CMAAO), which was the first to raise an alarm about coronavirus in January has also recommended a ‘torch test’ for homemade masks. In an official statement put out by the organisation, it said,

The less light that passes through the mask, the more effective it is. Cloth masks may help curb the spread of the infection when used in conjunction with hand washing and physical distancing.

What Precautions You Should Take While Making Homemade Mask?

Dr Manoj Goel, Pulmonologist, backing the recently published guidelines OF the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on homemade masks said,

Hand washing is one of the key guidelines to battle COVID-19 for now and that must be taken very seriously by each one of us. So, if you are preparing a home mask, one of the first steps you should take is to go and wash your hands throughly with water and soap. Followed by washing a piece of cloth that you will be using for making your mask with hot water (preferably) and soap. Also, one should know that one face mask should be useD by one individual only. Even family members should not use each others masks.

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, homemade masks can be reused by an individual, for reusing the mask it is advised that one should wash the mask with hot water and soap every second day and dry it out properly in the sun.

World

24,50,12,529Cases
20,64,25,824Active
3,36,14,434Recovered
49,72,271Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,50,12,529 and 49,72,271 have died; 20,64,25,824 are active cases and 3,36,14,434 have recovered as on October 28, 2021 at 4:00 am.

India

3,42,31,809 16,156Cases
1,60,9891,672Active
3,36,14,434 17,095Recovered
4,56,386 733Deaths
In India, there are 3,42,31,809 confirmed cases including 4,56,386 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,60,989 and 3,36,14,434 have recovered as on October 28, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,06,536 1,485

23,096 3,500

64,43,342 4,947

1,40,098 38

Kerala

49,38,603 9,445

77,158 2,100

48,31,468 6,723

29,977 622

Karnataka

29,86,835 282

8,459 80

29,40,339 349

38,037 13

Tamil Nadu

26,98,493 1,075

12,288 252

26,50,145 1,315

36,060 12

Andhra Pradesh

20,64,854 567

4,777 122

20,45,713 437

14,364 8

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,114 13

100 6

16,87,115 7

22,899

West Bengal

15,89,042 976

7,973 124

15,61,973 837

19,096 15

Delhi

14,39,709 38

348 25

14,14,270 13

25,091

Odisha

10,39,818 549

4,392 213

10,27,108 334

8,318 2

Chhattisgarh

10,05,926 28

263 14

9,92,088 12

13,575 2

Rajasthan

9,54,411 4

20 0

9,45,437 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,481 17

173 2

8,16,220 15

10,088

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,804 20

108 9

7,82,172 10

10,524 1

Haryana

7,71,204 15

133 5

7,61,022 10

10,049

Bihar

7,26,073 5

41 1

7,16,371 4

9,661

Telangana

6,70,829 186

4,164 63

6,62,714 122

3,951 1

Assam

6,09,506 244

3,838 153

5,99,681 391

5,987 6

Punjab

6,02,289 38

246 20

5,85,487 16

16,556 2

Jharkhand

3,48,705 28

160 30

3,43,408 56

5,137 2

Uttarakhand

3,43,861 17

150 6

3,36,312 23

7,399

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,865 70

838 16

3,26,596 86

4,431

Himachal Pradesh

2,23,406 261

1,972 211

2,17,693 48

3,741 2

Goa

1,77,969 23

454 29

1,74,152 51

3,363 1

Puducherry

1,27,846 40

443 10

1,25,546 50

1,857

Manipur

1,23,473 70

844 29

1,20,712 97

1,917 2

Mizoram

1,19,496 547

7,320 446

1,11,752 991

424 2

Tripura

84,438 15

123 1

83,499 14

816

Meghalaya

83,466 51

507 22

81,511 71

1,448 2

Chandigarh

65,331 5

29 2

64,482 3

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,120 6

115 22

54,725 28

280

Sikkim

31,925 13

177 1

31,353 12

395

Nagaland

31,759 12

222 3

30,856 15

681

Ladakh

20,925 8

47 6

20,670 2

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,682 1

6 0

10,672 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,650 2

5 1

7,516 1

129

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