Google’s new doodle is here to remind you that the pandemic is still on, and you need to keep yourself and others around you safe from the coronavirus, by wearing a mask. When you hover your cursor on the doodle, this message pops on your screen: “Masks are still important. Wear a mask and save lives.” And when you click on it, it takes you to a public service announcement page, which states: “Wear a mask. Save lives. Wear a face cover. Wash your hands. Keep a safe distance.”
The announcement comes as cases continue to rise in the country, even as the government urges people to continue wearing masks, and maintain hand hygiene.
Why are masks important?
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that masks are “a key measure to suppress transmission and save lives”. They “should be used as part of a comprehensive ‘Do it all!’ approach including physical distancing, avoiding crowded, closed and close-contact settings, good ventilation, cleaning hands, covering sneezes and coughs, and more. Depending on the type, masks can be used for either protection of healthy persons or to prevent onward transmission”.
When should masks be worn?
WHO states masks must be worn in “areas where the virus is circulating”, and in “crowded settings”, where you “can’t be at least 1 metre from others, and in rooms with poor or unknown ventilation. It’s not always easy to determine the quality of ventilation, which depends on the rate of air change, recirculation and outdoor fresh air. So if you have any doubts, it’s safer to simply wear a mask”.
Other points to keep in mind:
1. You should always clean your hands before and after using a mask, and before touching it while wearing it.
2. While wearing a mask, you should still keep physical distance from others as much as possible. Wearing a mask does not mean you can have close contact with people.
3. For indoor public settings such as busy shopping centres, religious buildings, restaurants, schools and public transport, you should wear a mask if you cannot maintain physical distance from others.
4. If a visitor comes to your home who is not a member of the household, wear a mask if you cannot maintain a physical distance or the ventilation is poor.
5. When outside, wear a mask if you cannot maintain physical distance from others. Some examples are busy markets, crowded streets and bus stops.
The Google PSA page also mentions one must know all the facts, take appropriate precautions, and follow advice provided by local health authority, so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
* Clean your hands often. Use soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
* Maintain a safe distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
* Wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible.
* Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
* Cover your nose and mouth with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
* Stay home if you feel unwell.
* If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.
Since we are one year into this pandemic, some kind of fatigue may have set in. Dr Anita Mathew, Infectious Disease Specialist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund had told indianexpress.com that this fatigue can give rise to apathy and restlessness. “This stands especially true as the lockdown restrictions are being lifted. At a time when we are getting used to the ‘new normal’, the pandemic-triggered fatigue is making people exhibit indifference to the infection, which shouldn’t be the case; the COVID-19 infection cannot be taken lightly!” she warned.