With COVID cases showing a declining trend across the country and many states removing mask mandates, nine in 10 Indians said most people in their area/city/district either do not have a mask at all or are not wearing it properly, a survey conducted by community social media platform LocalCircles showed on April 5.
The survey received more than 30,000 responses from citizens residing in 349 districts of India.
When asked about the current status of people in regard to mask compliance in city/district/area, majority i.e. 57 percent of citizens said most have a mask but don’t wear it properly while 22 percent said that most have a mask but "don’t wear it at all”.
The survey further showed that only six percent mask compliance is effective in their city/district/area.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
According to inputs from citizens on LocalCircles, most states have not been enforcing the mask mandate and now some have removed it formally while others are considering the same. This has led to really low compliance levels. When asked if people in city/district/ area now complying to mask norms, 7 percent of citizens said no compliance at all while 6 percent said that more than 90 percent people are compliant.
Also, of those who are wearing masks, respondents say that two in three are wearing a “cloth mask”, which provides limited protection from COVID.
With India now experiencing a steady decline in COVID cases with the test positivity rate (TPR) below 1 percent, and less than 1,000 reported cases a day, many states like Delhi, Maharashtra, Haryana and Punjab have removed the mask mandate, along with other COVID restrictions. Other states too are also reportedly considering the same.
However, given the fact that the lack of masking indoors in public places and outdoors in crowded areas is risky, removing the mask mandate in case of a fourth wave can put India at high risk.
With new mutations being found each week worldwide and cases rising in so many countries and India reopening all international commercial flights, a next wave in India is imminent and is only a matter of time, the survey said.
Under such circumstances, according to some citizens, removing the mask mandate signals end of the pandemic to the large majority, which means that when the fourth wave starts, the country could be vulnerable very quickly.
As per the survey, the compliance is very low already and such mandates issued by all state governments could lead to masking becoming an exception rather than the norm.
Many countries in Europe that removed masking norms in February are learning a difficult lesson currently.
On the other hand, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised an alarm regarding rising COVID cases globally despite testing levels dropping significantly.
Many countries in Europe like France, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands and those in Asia like Hong Kong, South Korea, Vietnam and China are experiencing a huge surge in cases.
China now has over 50 million people in lockdown, including those at major business centers like Shenzhen and Shanghai with the highest daily cases being reported, reminding the world of January 2020, when the initial surge was reported in the country's Wuhan city.
The Center for Disease Control in China has issued a stark warning on Deltacron, citing that the worst as no recombination events involving large genomic fragments (like “Deltacron”) have been found in SARS-CoV-2 before.
In India, the Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) has now reported 16 cases of BA.2+S:I1221T or the BA.2.2 sub-lineage of Omicron, which is known to cause the latest surge in Hong Kong.Further, over 560 cases of Deltacron, a combination of Delta and Omicron variants, have also been reported in India last week.