During this ongoing pandemic, we see people around us wearing masks to protect against coronavirus. Are these masks really necessary when it comes to comprehensive protection? The answer is definitely No. The WHO clarifies that masks are no “silver bullet” to defeat coronavirus. They should be used by the mass public in places and countries where fundamental measures such as cleaning hands and social distancing are hard to follow due to reasons such as lack of water or harsh living conditions.

Due to the boundless buying of masks by the public, because they believe that only masks are enough and safe protection against coronavirus, there is a growing shortage of masks for frontline healthcare workers. Frontline health care workers are the ones that need masks more than the general public. Trump, the US president, asked the citizens to not compete with hospitals and healthcare workers when it comes to the shortage of masks and strictly warned them to stop hoarding masks and to wear scarfs if they don’t have a mask. Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s epidemics chief, said, “there is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any particular benefit, In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite.”  

What did he mean by that? Masks can prove to be as harmful as we are perceiving them to be safe. An improperly fitted mask or touching the mask while putting it on or off can easily help the virus to enter our bodies if it is present on the outer surface of the mask. In a recent study, it was discovered that coronavirus stays on a mask for more than seven days and it is fairly enough for the virus to infect us in that much time. So the Union Health Ministry in India has urged the public to wear a reusable mask so that it can’t affect the decreasing number of masks for healthcare workers. Also, it is extremely important to wash that reusable mask after every use with soap and water. Mask remains a secondary option to protect against coronavirus, the first being hand washing, and social distancing.