Ever since the outbreak of Covid 19 took place, masks are something that has gained enormous popularity and attention. It market value has substantially increased.
Masks play a pivotal role to suppress transmission and save lives. Masks should be used as part of a comprehensive ‘IMPORTANT TO-DO’ approach including physical distancing, avoiding crowded places, closed and close-contact settings, good ventilation, cleaning hands, covering sneezes and coughs etc.
Cloth or fabric masks are recommended to prevent virus transmission in the general population in public places, particularly where distancing is not possible and in areas prone to community spread. This could include school grounds in some situations. Masks may help to protect others, because wearers may be infected before symptoms of illness appear. The policy on wearing a mask or face covering should be in line with national or local guidelines. Whenever masks are used, they should be worn, cared for and disposed off responsibly.
However masks should not be worn during vigorous physical activity because of the risk of reducing your breathing capacity even if you are in an area of Covid -19 transmission. No matter how rigorously you exercise, keep at least 2 metres away from others, and if you are working out indoors then make sure there is adequate ventilation.
Masks Continue to be Important Even After Vaccination has Started
The new COVID - 19 vaccines seem to be doing remarkably well at preventing the illness. But it’s still unclear how well they will be able to curb the spread of the corona virus. That leaves open the possibility that some vaccinated people can get infected without developing symptoms and could thereby silently transmit the virus to other people. Especially if they come in close contact with others or stop wearing masks. The vaccinated people could be silent spreaders of the virus, they may keep it circulating in other communities, thereby putting unvaccinated people at risk.
“A lot of people are thinking that once they get vaccinated, they’re not going to have to wear masks anymore,” said Michal Tal, an immunologist at Stanford University. “It’s really going to be critical for them to know if they have to keep wearing masks, because they could still be contagious.”
The corona virus vaccines have proved to be powerful shields against severe illness, but there is no guarantee of their effectiveness it the nose. The lungs are the site of severe symptoms and are much more accessible to the circulating antibodies than the nose or throat, making them easier to risk.
We must remember this very importantly, since the vaccines have been developed at a speed to stop the spread of the novel corona virus, we may not have a vaccine which is completely effective in providing immunity against the novel coronavirus.
Menwhile, though the introduction o vaccines may stop the spread o corona virus patients from contracting the infection again and even lower the chances of developing symptoms, they may not immediately provide complete protection against the novel COVID or prevent people from getting infected all together.
As of now, the vaccine companies are primarily aiming to provide at least 60 to 70 per cent effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 infections.
Wearing a face mask can reduce an individual's risk of infection by 70%. With emergency use authorization of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccinations, there is an opportunity to further have a decline in the risk of illness due to COVID-19.
However, the vaccinations may give most people a false sense of hope that masks are no longer needed. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
The vaccination just teaches the body how to successfully fight a virus without actually falling sick. This is in contrast to public health measures, which rely on decreasing exposure to the virus. To effectively contain this pandemic, reducing exposure to the virus and supporting the vaccination campaigns must continue.
Here are reasons why you need to continue wearing a mask (and practice other recommended safety guidelines) during and after vaccination:
-Vaccination does not provide instant immunity boost.
Depending on the vaccine, it can take from four to six weeks of initial dosing to achieve the immunity and protection levels comparable to those in clinical trials. During this time it is still possible to contract an infection and fall ill.
-Vaccination trials does not track the participation of people wore masks.
Though the vaccines trial have a severe check on the usage of masks yet it is difficult to understand the real scenario. Due to the lack of data, it is not clear whether the vaccination effectiveness had anything to do with vaccine trial participants following to public health safety measures and directions like wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
The herd immunity factor for COVID-19 is vague.
Herd immunity occurs when enough of the population is exposed to the virus, typically through vaccination and limits the ability of the virus to spread. The percentage of population requiring immunization to achieve a herd immunity varies from disease to disease.
The time span of vaccine immunity is not known.
The span of vaccine coverage is yet to be determined and will be monitored as vaccination campaigns are rolled out. The positive news is that the effectiveness of vaccines depends on our immunity cells, which identify infections and reflects the response of immunity, stretched beyond six months in certain patients infected with corona virus.
As this pandemic rages on globally, with a very significant figure of over 1.5 million dead, according to the World Health Organization data, the scientific group has come to this realization that it is in its own an impressive milestone. In last 10 months, of vaccines been created, tested and deployed with high effective rates of over 94% and no serious adverse effects as such. Much of that success relies on a continued cooperation. It is very important that every eligible individual gets vaccinated. The vaccination undoubtedly decreases the risk of getting sick, but it does not indicate the end of public health measures.
As we further understand that this virus and the vaccine's effectiveness, we must continue to follow public health measures aimed at decreasing exposure COVID – 19 such as wearing a mask, social distancing and washing hand time and again.
We have to understand that getting a shot of the vaccine does not mean that we can go back to living the way we used to before the pandemic happened. We will still need to practice social distancing measures and other local and national guidelines. Religiously follow the established respiratory hygiene practices to help the vaccine do its job and bring down the rate of infection. Obviously, a vaccine which is even 70 percent effective is much better than no vaccine at all, as it will help us inch closer to the stage of herd immunity.Until then, please do not throw your masks away.