New Delhi: “There is consistent, strong evidence that SARS-CoV-2 spreads by airborne transmission. Although other routes can contribute, we believe that the airborne route is likely to be dominant”, states a recent assessment published in the medical journal Lancet. The article gives 10 scientific reasons in support of the airborne transmission of COVID-19 causing novel coronavirus. The paper states that reducing airborne transmission of the virus requires measures to avoid inhalation of infectious aerosols, including ventilation, air filtration, reducing crowding and time spent indoors, use of masks whenever indoors, attention to mask quality and fit, and higher-grade protection for health-care staff and front-line workers.
Also Read: COVID-19 Explained: Triple Mutation In India
NDTV spoke to experts to know more about the kind of mask to wear and the ventilation to be maintained to eliminate airborne transmission of the virus.
Wear Double Face Mask
Dr Joyeeta Basu, Co-founder and Director of Doctors Hub is of the opinion that the use of a double mask should be mandated. Giving out the reason for the same, Dr Basu said,
Many masks don’t fit perfectly on the face. Most of the time, they slip down from the nose and mouth, so, double mask with a perfect fit would be the best way to prevent catching the virus from other people especially if you are in a crowded place.
Dr Basu said that an N-95 mask can do the job of two masks so no need to double up. A surgical mask should be layered with a triple-layer cloth mask.
Experts have earlier specified that a mask should be worn correctly and it should cover the nose, mouth and chin. There should be no gap between the mask and skin towards the cheeks or chin. A mask has to form a seal around your nose and mouth, said Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS.
To check the fit of the mask, cup your hands around your mask and blow into it. If you can feel air escaping from the corners of the mask or from under your eyes, adjust it to close all gaps.
Additionally, Dr Basu clarified that one needs to wear a mask and continue wearing a double mask even after getting the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or both. She said,
You have to know that vaccines show 90 per cent efficacy or 70 per cent efficacy. You could be falling in the rest 10 per cent or 20 per cent where the vaccine doesn’t show any efficacy. So you have to continue wearing a mask even after getting fully vaccinated.
Ensure Good Cross Ventilation Indoors: Dr Randeep Guleria
The Lancet report has specified that the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is higher indoors than outdoors and is substantially reduced by indoor ventilation. Backing the same, Dr Guleria suggests having good cross ventilation and not crowding up indoor spaces.
In aerosol transmission, particles are smaller than 5 microns and can travel a far longer distance. So if an infected person coughs and sneezes in a closed room, the virus may be present in the air even after he is gone, explained Dr Guleria while emphasising on the importance of free air circulation.
In a closed atmosphere, even one infected person can infect everyone. It is not that even if a person sits 10 meters away from a person who is positive, you cannot get infected. Because aerosol can travel a longer distance and if a person coughs or sneezes, it can even be much longer, added Dr Guleria.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.
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