- The COVID pandemic has been a constant refrain in our lives for the last three years or so. Even as the global community faced significant challenges and hardships, the economic meltdown left the majority of us struggling to stay afloat. It would be an understatement to say that the crippling effects of pandemic-induced restrictions are still being felt in more ways than one. Despite efforts to reduce the burden of harsh measures on people during the peak of the pandemic, governments around the world were unable to provide relief along expected lines. The Indian establishment did not disappoint in launching adequate initiatives to address the crisis.
- The enormity of the virus’s virulence, on the other hand, resulted in the loss of thousands of precious lives and, as a result, bereaved families whose breadwinners perished during the terrible waves. Yes, diligently following COVID-appropriate behavior, such as wearing a mask, greatly helps in not only reducing the spread of the virus but also significantly reducing the number of people hospitalized. Despite these tried-and-true precautions, we saw that thousands of people had to be admitted to hospitals during the peak of the virus’s spread. Thankfully, we have overcome all of those terrible obstacles by making numerous personal and professional sacrifices. Does this imply that we can return to the pre-pandemic era when masks were unheard of? Not.
- It should be noted that while COVID is no longer a global public health emergency, the pandemic is far from over. According to the WHO, it is still a global threat, but not as severe as it was in the early 2020s. New SARS-Cov-2 variants and recombinants, any of which could have immune-evasion abilities and cause severe disease and hospitalization, are complicating its spread. Global COVID surveillance continues, and research on the two key mitigation measures—vaccination and masking—demonstrates why masks are our best bet. To summarize, vaccines do not prevent infection, but they do reduce the severity of infection. We know that India determined that three vaccine doses, two shots, and a booster would be sufficient at this time.
- As a laggard in booster dose coverage, India must fill this void. The most recent study found that pre-infection vaccination is more effective than vaccination after infection in combating COVID. Meanwhile, research into next-generation vaccines that can prevent infection is still in its early stages around the world, and until that happens, debate on the appropriate frequency of vaccination will rage, revolving around the waning of immunity, which is also being studied. A vaccine that can prevent infection, on the other hand, has been in development for several years. Masking is thus the only effective anti-Covid measure under one’s control. Masks can also protect against pollution and influenza. Since COVID is here to stay, why not put on a mask for the sake of your health?