The ongoing coronavirus pandemic now has over four million confirmed cases around the world with a threat on the second wave in countries that have managed to control the crisis including China, which was the first country to report a case.
Though effective preventive measures such as nationwide lockdowns, social distancing, and establishment of COVID-19 quarantine centers have successfully helped in controlling the infection, experts at the World Health Organization have stated that the virus is likely to stay for a very long time.
In China, the state-hired health expert who helped in looking over the country’s response to the health crisis, Zhang Boli has recently added that face mask for coronavirus should be worn by people in China for at least a year in order to eradicate SARS-CoV-2 completely.
‘I think the face masks will not be taken off for at least another year, at least this time next year. [We] definitely need to be prepared,’ Zhang explained.
Zhang, along with a team of experts, has emphasized the continuation of coronavirus preventive measures as several more cases have been reported in China after the easing of lockdown-related restrictions.
Currently, many people in China have asked about wearing face masks in the summer. There is a major portion of the population in China as well as elsewhere in the world that believes that viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, will go away due to the rise in temperatures in the summer.
However, studies on the novel coronavirus have cleared that the rising temperatures are unlikely to kill the virus and make a significant difference in its transmission or the pandemic. Therefore, Zhang has specifically asked people to make wearing a mask for coronavirus a norm.
He further explained that if higher temperatures had made a difference in the virus, it would have not been as prevalent in countries with warmer climates such as Indonesia or India.
Therefore, such statements should not be made unless they are scientifically proven as they will, in turn, promote a false idea of the pandemic and its related restrictions ending in the coming months of summer.
It is necessary to wear a mask even after the virus has been officially declared to be controlled, Zhang added, as the behavior of the novel coronavirus is unpredictable and since it is highly contagious, a few infections left untreated can bring about another wave.
In addition to Zhang’s statement on coronavirus in China, health experts from other countries have also expressed similar concerns.
Dr. David Nabarro, who is the special envoy for the COVID-19 pandemic at the World Health Organization has also added that wearing a face mask for coronavirus or any kind of face covering is likely to become a daily practice for the people.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is likely to stay until there is enough research to develop infection-specific medicines and a vaccine.
Currently, there are several clinical trials being held around the world to test existent medicines for coronavirus treatment, or developing vaccines, and even a more accurate coronavirus test.
All three of these are fundamental in controlling the health crisis but the majority of experts have agreed that it can take several months for a test with high accuracy and for medicines to be made. For vaccines, it can even take up to a year to develop an effective coronavirus vaccine.
Therefore, Zhang’s predictions may not only be true for coronavirus in China but may also be true for the infection in other countries. Wearing a mask for coronavirus may become a norm and a habit in all countries that have been affected by SARS-CoV-2.