‘People are still negligent and have failed to follow Covid protocols properly’.


New Delhi: India is witnessing an exponential rise in coronavirus cases again and yet again, doctors and health experts are requesting the public to wear masks and follow other Covid protocols. Since, the beginning of the pandemic, face masks, physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and staying home when sick have been recognized as important tools in helping to reduce the spread of coronavirus. However, people are still negligent and have failed to follow these protocols properly.

Jai Dhar Gupta, founder of Nirvana Being, and Founder of the Citizen Movement, “My Right to Breathe’, told The Sunday Guardian: “The role of a mask is to create a barrier against pollutants and respiratory droplets. Currently, we have a respiratory virus lurking in the air and the role of any mask we wear at this point is to create a barrier against this Covid particle and prevent it from entering our respiratory passage.”

Gupta and his team have also developed a first-of-its-kind antiviral mask called Airific that is laboratory tested to keep out more than 96% of viruses and bacteria, as well as over 95% of particulate matter and contaminant.

“It was created for the mass market after thorough research wherein we realized that Covid-19 particles have a diameter of close to 0.125 microns; and standardN95 masks, which are somewhat porous, cannot filter nano-particles smaller than 0.3 microns. Therefore, we developed a mask using nanotechnology to filter down to 0.1 microns. The nanofibers in the mask have a massive surface area and a large number of pores with tiny pore sizes. This enables the filter to catch much smaller particles with a lower ‘press drop’ than other synthetic or natural materials, making the Airific mask more breathable than any other mask in the market. Its natural filtration provides the highest protection from dust, ash, smoke, fumes, exhaust, odors, allergens, bacteria, viruses and pathogens,” Gupta said.

Several state governments are also imposing penalties to encourage mask-wearing behaviour.

As per data from Delhi Police, 5,63,050 challans have been issued for mask violation in Delhi.

“The only thing that works in a country like India is incentivizing good behavior and penalizing bad behaviour. Every person who gets infected will infect more and more people, and consequently, this pandemic will never end unless we take strict measures to contain the spread,” Gupta added.

On reports of mutations of the Covid strain, Gupta said: “The inherent size of the Covid particle does not change, it will remain constant. And, therefore, the size of particles that a mask filters is also constant. The mutation will not impact the efficacy of a mask in any way.”

Highlighting the difference between face masks and face covers, he said: “A mask is personal protective equipment (PPE) that is certified/ tested by a reputed authority to create a credible barrier. If the mask is of the right size and provides a snug fit on the wearer, it will filter air on the inhale as well as the exhale. On the other hand, a face cover is simply a piece of cloth that provides minimal protection to the wearer on the inhale and does play a role in filtering respiratory droplets on the exhale. In other words, it only protects people in the surroundings and does not protect the wearer. To summarize, masks are effective barriers against Covid-19 and pollutants, whereas face covers are simply optics that offer compromised protection to the wearer, and hence a false sense of comfort.”

“A mask must provide a snug fit and a tight seal around the nose and mouth when the person inhales and exhales. All air must pass through a filter on both the inhale and exhale. This is the reason why our masks come in multiple sizes for kids and adults. Secondly, the mask must be a certified N95 and/or have a tested Viral Filtration Efficiency greater than 95%. Lastly, it must be highly breathable both on the inhale and the exhale for maximum comfort, especially when worn for long periods of time,” he added.