Masks and coronavirus have a very reciprocal relationship. By hypothesis, corona does not thrive where masks stay. In Bangladesh, we have had different rules given to us regarding masks on different occasions. On March 8, when the first corona case reported in the country, it was told that it is not essential to wear masks in general. To be specific, it was instructed that those who are not infected with corona do not need to wear masks. When there was a spike in the number of patients just within a month, new rules were given out. In fact, by April, people were fined for not wearing masks. As more information were given out by World Health Organization (WHO) on the matter, wearing masks had become compulsory to this day.
In the daily press briefing of Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), the authority gives out clear instructions on a number of aspects of the pandemic to raise awareness among people. On various occasions, they had provided clear instructions regarding the mask.It is advised that general people leave N95 and surgical masks (along with PPE) for medical workers (doctors, nurses and all those giving care to corona patients or working in such hospitals). General people can avail from wearing masks made of cloth (or other materials as instructed by WHO). In fact, these cotton masks can be washed and re-used after they are dried for an adequate amount of time under the sun. This also reduces waste to a great extent as the masks can be used again and again without any impediment.
When it had been few months since Covid-19, most people are aware that masks are a great way to keep us protected. Wearing masks and following proper guidelines is the only way one can stay safe and work too, when necessary.
However, there can be some occasions when wearing masks can be harmful. On July 5, DGHS Additional Director General Prof Dr Nasima Sultana had said people who suffer from breathing problems already (or who have asthma) should avoid wearing masks during strenuous activities as it could be risky. Health professionals all around the world also echo the same belief as wearing masks while running, climbing stairs or other such activities can result in shortness of breath.
Therefore, it is advisable that people with such conditions avoid such activities altogether or keep the mask away while keeping a safety distance from others while doing such works that require high energy. It is also best for people with chronic illnesses such as bronchitis, diabetes, etc to remain indoors as much as possible and avoid contact with outsiders.