The Indian government on Monday advised people that the time had come to wear a face mask even at home, especially if a Covid-19 patient was around.
Dr VK Paul, Member Niti Aayog for Health said: “If there is Covid-19 positive case in the family, it is very important that the person wears a mask even indoors because the virus can spread to others in the home. I would rather go on to say that the time has come that we start wearing mask at home even otherwise.”
The government, however, added that unnecessary panic was causing more harm than good as India grapples with a raging second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
IS COVID-19 AIRBORNE?
During the initial days of 2020, Sars-Cov-2 virus that causes Covid-19 was identified as a droplet infection.
Droplet infection means that the size of the particle is larger. And, therefore, because the droplets carrying the virus are of larger size, the virus cannot travel for a longer distance and cannot stay in the air for a long time and quickly drops on surfaces and the surfaces get infected.
However, earlier this month, a Lancet study said the Sars-Cov-2 virus that causes Covid-19 is airborne along with droplet transmission.
Airborne meaning the aerosols can get transmitted when someone coughs or sneezes, with smaller particles, which are smaller in size, less than five microns. And they are the ones which can stay in the air for a longer period of time, can travel for a longer distance and don’t drop down to the surfaces.
“You may have a person in an indoor environment who is more than two metres away from you, is coughing, and viruses stay in the environment, in the air, for a longer period. And if you cross that area, you may have a chance of getting the infection although you were always away from him by two metres,” All India Institute of Medical Sciences director Dr Randeep Guleria said in a recent interview.
He stressed the need for wearing mask properly and even double masking at times, and having good cross ventilation in an indoor environment.