Why everyone should wear masks -T Jacob John

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published Published on Apr 6, 2020   modified Modified on Apr 6, 2020

-The Hindu

The pandemic can be slowed only by a lockdown as well as by ensuring universal mask use

Flattening the epidemic curve (case distribution curve) is the need of the day. On the curve, Y axis and X axis represent case numbers and time, respectively. A normal epidemic curve is bell-shaped, with an early ascending slope (first phase), a peak (second phase) and a declining slope (third phase). The area under the curve represents the total number of cases. India is now in the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A rapid increase in cases will demand far more healthcare facilities than now available. Healthcare facilities were not created in anticipation of a pandemic and are grossly inadequate for India to tackle the first phase. A flattening of the curve will reduce the demand on beds in intensive care units, respirators, and specialists to manage acute respiratory distress syndrome. The peak will be dwarfed and come after some breathing time; the pressure will be eased. However, the area under the curve, the total number of cases, whether the curve is bell-shaped or flattened, will be the same. This crucial information in the epidemiology of the epidemic must be taken into account for planning a response.

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The Hindu, 6 April, 2020, https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/why-everyone-should-wear-masks/article31263979.ece?homepage=true

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