Have you stopped wearing your mask? India could be vulnerable to a 4th COVID wave, warns a survey
A survey has found nine out of 10 respondents complain people either do not have a mask at all or are not wearing it properly. With declining COVID cases in the country and states removing mask mandates, people have been reckless in wearing masks, considered essential to keep the virus at bay.
गाँव कनेक्शन 6 April 2022 12:53 PM GMT
Nine in 10 Indians say people either do not have a mask at all or are not wearing it properly, ever since states have removed the mask mandates. The national capital Delhi, and states including Maharashtra, Haryana, and Punjab have removed the mask mandate as part of the COVID19 restrictions, leading to low compliance levels.
This was revealed in a survey conducted by LocalCircles, a community social media platform that enables the government to make citizen-centric policies. As part of the survey, at least 30,000 people across the country were interviewed.
Only six per cent respondents said mask compliance is effective in their city/district/area. Of those who were wearing masks, respondents say, two in three wear a cloth mask which claims to provide limited protection from COVID infection. Only six per cent respondents said people wear "N-95 masks".
"With new mutations being found each week worldwide and cases rising in so many countries and India reopening all international flights, a 4th wave in India is imminent and is only a matter of time," read the statement issued by LocalCircles, dated April 5.
"Under such circumstances, according to some citizens, removing the mask mandate signals the end of the pandemic to the large majority, which means that when the 4th wave starts, India could be very vulnerable very quickly," the survey stated.
In India, the Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) has reported 16 cases of BA.2+S:I1221T or the BA.2.2 sub-lineage of Omicron, which has caused the latest surge in Hong Kong, noted the survey. Over 560 cases of Deltacron (a combination of Delta and Omicron variants) have also been reported in India last week. In such a scenario, although India's daily COVID cases have seen a steady decline, can we drop the mask mandate?
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data, India's active caseload currently stands at 11,871. This is a decline from the active caseload of 12,054 recorded till April 5 morning. In the past 24 hours, 1,086 new cases were recorded.
As per the survey, the compliance is very low already and such mandates issued by state governments could lead to masking becoming an exception rather than the norm.
"Many countries in Europe that removed masking norms in February are learning a difficult lesson currently. India must take a lesson from their learnings and consider taking a cautious approach instead of an aggressive one," suggested the LocalCircles report.