KARACHI: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Karachi recommended the use of homemade cloth masks for the general public. Recent studies suggest that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus is asymptomatic i.e., present without symptoms. Even those who eventually develop symptoms, also referred to as “pre-symptomatic,” can transmit the virus to others before presenting with symptoms.
This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity, for example, while speaking, coughing, or sneezing even if those people are not exhibiting any symptoms. In light of this new evidence, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends wearing cloth facemasks in public settings where other social distancing measures are challenging to maintain, such as in grocery stores and pharmacies, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-foot social distancing remains essential to slow down the spread of the virus. As per the CDC’s guidelines, the PMA Karachi advises the use of simple cloth facemasks to slow the spread of the virus to stop the virus from transmitting to others. Cloth facemasks made with household items or common materials at low cost can be used as an additional voluntary public health measure.
Surgical masks or N-95 respirators are not commended for the general public as they must be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders as recommended by the CDC’s current guidance.
The PMA also advises all citizens to wear whatever mask is available at home before going out. The PMA demands the Government of Pakistan to provide two washable masks to each family in Pakistan following the example of the Japanese Government that took the initiative to provide washable masks to their citizens free of cost.