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Covid-19 UAE: Masks are your best protection against the virus

Dubai - Wearing masks limit one’s exposure to coronavirus, doctors say.

By Nandini Sircar

Published: Tue 26 Jan 2021, 3:46 PM

Last updated: Tue 26 Jan 2021, 4:02 PM

Doctors in the UAE are suggesting multiple reasons to continue wearing the mask as the vaccination drive gains momentum in the country.

Also Read: Covid: New Dubai rules for close contacts

Wearing the mask is key to the Covid-19 control target and will need to continue in the foreseeable future.

The vaccine doesn’t guarantee complete immunity – as the currently available vaccines have been found to provide up to 86 per cent to 95 per cent immunity against Covid-19.

“There is a small chance you still could get infected so you need to protect yourself as the number of Covid-19 cases are on the rise”, says, Dr Disha Vengsarkar, Pathologist – Al Qasimia, Prime medical Centre.

“You might infect others with Covid-19 if you contract the virus. You can transmit it to the community. Many do not experience any symptoms but are still capable of transmitting the virus,” she adds.

Also Read: New rapid Covid tests approved; results in as little as 20 minutes

Medics reiterate the total time duration from the time one gets vaccinated to the time one achieves immunity is around seven weeks. Therefore, people need to stay protected throughout this period.

“Wearing a mask can limit one’s exposure to the virus, which can greatly lower the chances of becoming ill, even if one’s vaccinated”, adds Dr Vengsarkar.

Dr Arshia Banu Najeem, General Physician, Aster Clinic – Aswaaq Mall says, “Global health leaders are extremely concerned about new genetic variants of the coronavirus, which appear to be at least 50 per cent more contagious than the original. Hence public health measures — such as avoiding crowds, physical distancing and masks — reduce the risk of contracting all strains of the coronavirus, as well as other respiratory diseases.”

People with pre-existing health conditions or illnesses are at particular risk from Covid-19. Vaccines may not be as efficient in people with compromised immune systems.

Patients with lung cancer are less able to fight off pneumonia, while those undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment have weakened immune systems.

“People with cancer are at a particular risk from Covid-19. Studies show they’re more likely than others to become infected from the virus, but may not be protected by vaccines. Some types of cancers attack immune cells directly, which makes it harder for patients to fight off the virus. Wearing masks in these cases will help the individuals against contracting the virus, getting infected or causing the spread”, adds Dr Najeem.

Dr Alaa Zedan, Specialist Internal Medicine, Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery, Dubai, says, “Covid-19 is a highly infectious disease. It mainly transmits from one person to another through respiratory droplets. For instance, when an infected person sneezes or coughs, the droplets travel in the air. When an uninfected person breathes or comes in contact with these droplets, he will fall sick. Wearing a mask is the only way to protect ourselves from the risk of coming into contact with the respiratory droplets in the air.

Additionally, there is a group of people who are opposed to vaccinations and wish to forgo inoculation.

This can result in a surge of the infectious disease which has been previously or nearly eradicated.

Dr Nalin Sharma, Chair of Anesthesia, Prime Hospital, Garhoud, says, “There is a small but determined group of people called anti-vaxxers who will not get the vaccine and thus pose a threat to everybody in their vicinity.”


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