On Monday, Dr V K Paul, a member of Niti Aayog, India’s federal think tank, told a conference that people should wear a mask even at home and avoid stepping out until necessary.
“We have to adopt the right things … We also have to remember that if there is one positive case in the house - it is very important that the person wears the mask; because he spreads the virus. I want to say that time has come that we should start wearing masks at home even in normal circumstances,” Dr Paul said, while asking people not to invite others into their homes.
“Even with the family, please wear a mask. At home, if someone has an infection, extra care should be taken because the virus is highly transmissible. The angle of transmissibility is becoming clear,” he said.
Since the start of the pandemic, India has recorded over 17.6 million cases of Covid-19 including over 197,000 deaths. Of the total cases, over five million were recorded in the last four weeks and over two million in the last six days. India’s total cases are next only to the US which has recorded over 31.7 million cases so far.
Dr R S Vohra, a senior consultant with a Delhi-based hospital, who has been treating over 70-80 patients every day, told The Independent: “Initially, when the pandemic started the authorities were focusing on contact tracing to control the spread of the virus but now in this second wave that India is experiencing contact tracing is futile.
“Now we just assume that everyone has the infection and the only thing that can stop that is a barrier. Wearing masks is a kind of barrier and thus it is recommended that face masks should be worn at home to control the spread of the virus. It will help in controlling the spread of Covid-19 virus from those who are carrying the virus but are not showing symptoms.”
Dr Randeep Guleria, who is another member of the task force and director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, cautioned that those with mild symptoms should not panic as that can overwhelm health infrastructure.
He emphasised that people in panic have begun hoarding medicines and that is causing an unnecessary shortage of some treatments in the market.
The suggestions came as Indian cities such as Delhi and Mumbai are experiencing a major shortage of beds in hospitals, oxygen and medicines.
Social media platforms are filled with pleas of common people publicly seeking help for oxygen cylinders, medicines and in getting beds at hospitals.