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Mumbai: Amid festive season, experts moot need to bring back mask mandate

Updated on: 19 August,2022 08:10 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Vinod Kumar Menon | vinodm@mid-day.com

Amid upcoming festivities and no curbs, experts suggest that mask mandate be brought back, urge citizens to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour

Mumbai: Amid festive season, experts moot need to bring back mask mandate

People celebrate Dahi Handi in Chembur on September 3, 2018. File pic


In view of the festive season starting with Dahi Handi, experts have mooted the need to bring back the mask mandate as chances of infection spread is high given all restrictions have been lifted. The state is already witnessing a rise in cases of swine flu and other viral infections along with COVID-19, and hence there is a need to observe the festivals with adequate precautions, they said. 


‘Follow safety measures’



Dr Santosh Bansode, head of the department, Emergency Medicine, Wockhardt hospitals, said, “Looking at the current rise in COVID and swine flu cases, there is a high chance that numbers will increase further if we don’t take adequate precautions as both the diseases can spread from person to person due to close contact. Follow COVID-appropriate behaviour to save yourself as well as others.” 


Also read: Mumbai: Amid festive season, experts moot need to bring back mask mandate

Dr Santosh Bansode,  Wockhardt hospitals Dr Santosh Bansode, Wockhardt hospitals 

He added, “Vaccination is a must, and we must wear masks at crowded places. While even vaccinated people are getting infected, the symptoms remain mild. The same precautionary measures will also help us from H1N1 or swine flu too,” said Dr Bansode. 

Dr Wiqar Shaikh, professor of Medicine, Grant Medical College and Sir JJ Group of Hospitals, said, “Huge crowds are bound to gather to celebrate these festivals. With no social distancing and masking, we could be approaching an alarming situation.” He added that burning of firecrackers which would lead to increased air pollution could also affect patients suffering from COVID as it impacts the lungs. He quoted a study from Sweden published in the journal JAMA (USA) on April 20, which concluded that COVID-19 could surge even in the presence of lower levels of air pollution. He said that the fuel component, which is generally charcoal, in firecrackers, results in the release of a large amount of air pollutants which damage major organs, particularly the lungs.

Variant of concern

“The next several months will be challenging for health departments to prevent a flare of BA.2.75, an Omicron subvariant, and H1N1,” said Dr Subhash Hira, Professor of Global at University of Washington. He added, “BA.2.75 has the ability to evade several antibodies and infect those vaccinated too. Furthermore, it even rebounds after a full dose of known anti-viral medicines have been consumed for 5-7 days. This ‘rebound phenomenon’ is being reported in well published cases of global leaders in India and abroad.” 

BA.2.75
Omicron subvariant that rebounds after treatment

Suggestions for the season

. Mask should be made mandatory
. Need to focus on social distancing norms
. Ban on firecrackers
. Capping of H1N1 test prices 

As told by Dr Wiqar Shaikh, professor of Medicine, Grant Medical College and Sir JJ Group of Hospitals 

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