By Larry Dada
The world has come to place where humanity is not alien to tragedies: be it from environmental catastrophe, to social wars and even the nearest form of pandemic outbreak. In all cases, people are attacked, economies are shut and at extreme cases lives are lost.
The recent outbreak of novel corona virus called COVID-19 in Wuhan City of China has spread with a deadly speed that many nations cannot control. Over 170 nations have recorded confirmed cases ranging from tens to hundreds of thousands, within four mouths of detection and confirmation by WHO.
World organizations, in collaboration with WHO and best brains in scientific research are working tooth and nail to find a cure to this deadly virus. In a more quicker response, clinical trials of uncertified remedies are showing positive appreciation on patients battling with the COVID-19 symptoms, and the desire to break out of untold pains of isolation.
It is this response to the severity of symptoms that are similar to that of common flu, experts have warned that necessary precautionary safety ads be observed religiously, to stem the spread of COVID-19. Among the commandments listed by NCDC includes: regular and effective personal hygiene (hand washing with soap)practice, social distancing, isolation of infected persons, travel – movement restrictions, use of face mask, total lockdown etc.
Currently, owing to the negative economic impacts faced by many nations, tradomedical promises, and the colorful hopes of getting a certified true cure from science, many nations who had escalating number of confirmed to death cases, see the need to reverse and ease the enforced lockdown becoming necessary. The negative impact of hunger in the subsaharan nations and other third world nations also is a concern here.
It is on the note of putting the economic fallouts aside, that the control strategies has been reviewed. Eliminating the hazards by lockdown tended to be counterproductive, so relying on those strategy only posses a grave negative consequences on economic flow.
In this case, it is very important to understand that no one strategy or control measure may be totally effective against exposure. The most effective strategy to protect lives is to use a combination of hierarchy of control measures to best protect against exposure to infectious disease.
One way to achieve this is the use of face mask. Face mask is worn on the face to cover the biological gates -entry/exit points of the virus, and sheathe the exposed body parts.
Use of facial mask is not a new practice. Although the craze of cloth mask is fast becoming a social problem. Every clinical mask – N95, surgical, Filtering Facepiece Respirator (FFR) is engineered to spec with adequate quality assurance, tested and trusted.
The use of cloth mask has become trending and fashionable. Naturally it is a common assertion that people copy habits without questions. In the production process, the raw materials are easy to get and the products can be easily mass produced even domestically.
The dangers posed by cloth mask outweighs the feelings of social identity. At first, clinical mask that are factory produced may be expensive but the conditions of production are monitored by standards and regulations. There are fit-testings and several analysed compliances to meet agreed co conformities to standard. Secondly, there exist microscopic membrane in between the layers of clinical masks, to ensure adequate protection of end users.
Research has proved that cloth mask doesn’t give adequate protection to users against viral and bacterial infections. Some reasons could include: microscopic size of fabric pores, fitness, packaging, production condition, material selection, marketing conditions, and several other exposures.
Clinical masks ensure qualitative and quantitative conformities to standard. Although masks are essentially worn to protect the next person from getting an infection, the transmission barrier is primary. This knot of transmission is why Mike Pence was questioned a few days ago.
However, in the context of transmission of COVID-19 at the community field, everyone is considered a potential carrier since testing capacities is challenged. On easing of lockdown amidst tears by frightened well-to-do citizens who wish to live forever, it is of necessity that mask wearing at public places be strictly enforced, with the recommended mask stressed by NCDC, to serve the intended purpose.
Can cloth mask save you? In an event of dust or whirlwind, it can be beneficial to use your handkerchief to design a mask of your preferred size and taste. Using Ankara mask to combat viral infections is an invitation to hazards. The droplets from your gates will still escape through the nicely displayed mask. Avoid the craze and protect yourself.
Larry Dada observes and writes from Lagos