The Moving Curve: Episode 7

Hello and welcome to Episode 7 of The Moving Curve. I’m Rukmini, a data journalist, and every night on this 5-minute podcast I consider one question around the novel coronavirus epidemic in India.

It’s day 61 of the epidemic in India, and we have 1353 confirmed cases and 32 deaths. Tonight I’m asking the question: why aren’t we all wearing masks?

WHO advice on mask use: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks

Indian govt advice on mask usage: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/FAQ.pdf

Indian govt specifications for mask use for healthcare professionals: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/GuidelinesonrationaluseofPersonalProtectiveEquipment.pdf

Doctors in India do not have enough PPE: https://theprint.in/health/need-more-masks-sanitisers-doctors-say-hospitals-ill-equipped-to-fight-covid-19/384607/

Today the Washington Post is reporting that the Centre for Disease Control, the US’s apex health body, is considering advising people to use these do-it-yourself masks: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/cdc-considering-recommending-general-public-wear-face-coverings-in-public/2020/03/30/6a3e495c-7280-11ea-87da-77a8136c1a6d_story.html

Four days ago, the director-general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in an interview to Science magazine that one of the big mistakes he believed the US and Europe were making was that people were not wearing face masks: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/not-wearing-masks-protect-against-coronavirus-big-mistake-top-chinese-scientist-says

Mask use in East Asian countries: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-52015486

Manual on homemade masks developed by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India: https://pib.gov.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=200833

Chennai municipal corporation suggested that even asymptomatic people in certain areas they had identified as hotspots within the city should wear masks even inside their houses (later backtracked): https://twitter.com/NirupamaViswa/status/1244168524819398658

Widespread public mask-use — of course alongside the mass screening and testing that I talked about yesterday — gives us a way to start thinking about the way back outside after this lockdown.

Thank you for listening. This episode was edited by Anand Krishnamoorthi. Tomorrow a new question.

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I am a data journalist based in Chennai, India.

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