THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The growing proportion of mutant variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus that cause Covid-19 in the state would mean that wearing just a cloth mask will not give adequate protection against infection, said health experts. Double masking (wearing two masks with one over the other), avoiding closed spaces and even masking at home have been suggested to counter fast-spreading variants. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan stressed the need to wear mask — double masking or N95 mask if possible.
“The new mutants are fast spreading. A small amount of virus could result in catching the infection,” said Dr Anish T S, Assistant Professor of Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram. “We also need to start wearing mask at places where we used to keep it aside such as inside the family,” he said.
A study by the Department of Community Medicine has revealed that up to 56 per cent of infected persons contracted the virus from their family members, last year. Dr K P Aravindan, pathologist and member of the expert panel on Covid-19, said chances of airborne spread has increased and it would be prudent to wear a cloth mask above a 3-layer mask. “Earlier the virus transmitted from one person to two others. But now it is found that one person could infect nine others. So we should adopt smart ways to prevent smart viruses,” said Dr Padmanabha Shenoy, an immunologist.
Steps to prevent mutant virus infection
Wearing cloth mask above a three-layer mask or wearing N95 mask
Avoid closed spaces, AC cabins, maintain social distancing
Use mask at home
Avoid crowding at vaccination centres
Wash hands with soap or sanitiser