Since there was a bit of confusion among people about wearing the face mask because, in the early days of the outbreak, experts recommend it for the positive patients only. But as time passed by, and we saw a sudden increase in the numbers, WHO changed the policy and asked everyone to wear the mask in public.
WHO took the decision to overcome the potential rise in the number of patients globally. As the major reason for the transmission is from person to person, several countries have got a massive hit by the virus so far.
Why is wearing a mask in public necessary?
The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus that can enter into the human body from mouth, eyes, nose, or ears. Consecutive and ongoing researches are still going on to find the main reasons for the spread of the novel coronavirus.
However, the following are the modes of transmission that have been considered as the main source of the spread by the researchers.
By Respiratory Droplets
The virus enters into a person’s body when s/he fails to maintain a reasonable social distance with the affected person. An infected patient can spread the virus days before getting tested or developing symptoms.
And he can transfer it in the form of the respiratory droplets to others.
A paper published on April 16, in the New England Journal of Medicine saying that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can survive in the air for up to three hours.
When one breathes in the air that has the virus in it, it gets into their lungs and infects them. Experts call it the aerosolized transmission of the virus.
If someone touches the contaminated surface with hands and then touches their face, they can catch the virus.
The surface can become contaminated if the infected person coughs or sneezes on them. Similar to air, it can also survive on surfaces for more than three days.
From above-mentioned ways of transmission, we clearly see that one can only safeguard himself by
- Social distancing
- Washing hands frequently and
- By wearing a face mask
However, the question of maintaining a safer distance in a society like us remains constant. From the day we had the first confirmed case until today, we have rarely seen people following the SOPs.
In an overly populated and underdeveloped country like Pakistan, social distancing is difficult to attain. But we can implement wearing a mask in public by some simple tricks.
Not long ago, Adrian Cheng, a Honk Kong resident manufactured face masks and made them available for free for needy people via vending machines.
In Utah, the government has launched a website, where the residents can register online and get a free face mask by mail.
On the other hand, in Pakistan, we faced a great shortage and rise in prices of face masks right after having its entry into our country. The news saddens me more, that some renowned brands have started manufacturing the mask and selling them at quite high prices.
The free and ubiquitous face masks will make it easy for us to get our hands on them.
Previously, the virus was stated as common flu by the government officials, and the famous one-liner ‘Ghabrana nahi hai’ (not to worry) by our PM Imran Khan, made people take the virus easier and lighter.
Later, when it spiked and the numbers surged, the officials asked the public to wear a mask. These dual statements created a confusing environment and people became double-minded about whether to wear it or not!
Clear instructions and public awareness programs about wearing the mask by the government can make the implementation easy.
Make it a Norm
It is human psychology that we adhere to social norms. In uncertainty, people look around and tend to do what others are doing. Here, a question arises, how can we make it a social norm, whereas society is going totally opposite if it?
Now again, in public service messages, the officials, celebrities, athletes, and famous personalities should emphasize universal mask-wearing.
Pass the Law
The government should make and pass laws related to wearing a mask in public. This is the most obvious path to universal-masking.
On the contrary, enforcing laws to wear masks can be costly, difficult, and can lead to backlash and violence.
In the betterment of public health and human behavior, we should adopt an easy, understood, accessible and, the expected approach of wearing the mask.
Whosoever killed an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whosoever saved the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. (Qur’an 5:32)
The magnificent ayah narrates the importance of human life so precisely. It is so perfectly relatable in today’s circumstances when we are witnessing a pandemic hit.
By following this beautiful ayah along with some simple instructions like wearing a mask and maintaining social distance, we can save us and others from encountering the virus. In other words, we can save the entire humanity!