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Amid COVID-19 Outbreak, Confusion Over Wearing Masks Takes Over The World

Since the coronavirus outbreak originated in China, it has also fueled a debate around whether an individual should wear a mask for protection against COVID-19.


Since the coronavirus outbreak originated in China in December 2019, it has also fueled a debate around whether an individual should wear a mask for protection against the deadly pathogen. The World Health Organisation had previously said that only the older or already sick individuals should wear a mask when they go outside, but recently the United States has started urging everyone to cover their faces amid the rising fear of COVID-19. The American officials even suggested that a simple cloth mask could be an effective tool against the highly contagious coronavirus. 

The United States Centers for Disease Control had changed its position on the position of wearing masks even after reportedly Dr Dakle Fisher, an infectious disease physician and chair of the WHO Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, said that masks can provide a “false sense of security” against the pandemic. According to him, even mask-wearers can contract the virus droplets on the surface of their mask on to their hands or other surfaces including their home when they eventually take it off. Even WHO chief has advised against wearing of masks.

Meanwhile, according to reports, in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus, the countries have not only imposed the partial or full lockdown but have even made it mandatory for people to wear masks. In Chinese central city, Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak was first originated, the government had imposed a full lockdown for nearly two months and not a single person was allowed to go on the streets without wearing a mask. Other governments such as in Singapore, the authorities reportedly distributed masks to each household. 

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Precise effectiveness still unknown

According to researchers, the precise effectiveness against the coronavirus through masks still remain unknown. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, it was found that particles of SARS-CoV-2 can pass on for nearly three hours after they are first transmitted. It implies that the virus particles remain in the air for at least three hours and if someone coughs with SARS-CoV-2, other individuals can get exposed to the pathogen. However, doctors around the globe have reportedly advised governments to change their practice as per the updation of researches and new discoveries. 

As of April 7, the coronavirus has claimed over 5,370 lives and infected 51,608 in the UK. After originating from China’s “wet markets”, the coronavirus has now claimed over 74,782 lives worldwide as of April 7. According to the tally by international news agency, the pandemic has now spread to 209 countries and has infected at least 1,347,587 people. Out of the total infections, 286,453 have been recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities have been put under lockdown in almost all countries and the economy is struggling. 

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