Hyderabad, December 6: Mask Compliance Survey-December 2021 conducted by LocalCircles revealed that 63% of Indians are using cloth masks that provide limited protection against COVID 19.
To understand what Indians are currently using, the survey asked the people about what kind of masks that they see people in their city/district/area wearing most often.
Out of the 8,779 respondents, 21% said that people in their city/district/area wear surgical disposable masks (the blue one). 8% said `N-95 Mask' and 3% each said `KN-95 or W-95 Mask' and `N-95 Mask with valve, while 1% said can't say. Sixty-three percent of people said they use cloth masks.
The finding of the poll suggests that 2 in 3 Indians are wearing cloth masks that provide limited protection against Covid.
Data released by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) said the time required to reach an infectious dose for an individual from an infected individual is if both are wearing an N-95 mask and are 6 feet apart is 1667 hours of exposure for the Alpha variant of SARS-COV2.
If the N-95 mask is well fitted in both cases, the research indicates that it requires 677 hours of exposure to reach an infectious dose. However, the time required to reach an infectious dose for an individual from an infected individual if neither is wearing a mask is 10 minutes of exposure. The time required increases to 14 minutes with the vulnerable person wearing a cloth mask, 20 minutes with a surgical mask, 50 minutes with an N-95 mask, and 16.7 hours if the vulnerable person is wearing a well-fitted N-95 mask when the infectious person is not wearing a mask.
One in three Indians refrain from wearing masks when they go out
Another finding of the survey was that one in three Indians still refrain from wearing a mask while stepping out of their homes.
The survey report released on December 4 revealed that out of the 8,413 respondents, 34% of respondents said most people don't even have a mask with them now and 23% said most have a mask with them but don't wear it at all. There were also 38% of citizens who said that most have a mask but don't wear it properly. Only 5% said most have a mask and wear it properly. On an aggregate basis, 1 in 3 Indians is not even carrying a mask when they step out of their house.
A decline in mask compliance
With almost 125 crore vaccine doses administered in India, and cases dropping to below 10,000, citizens surely have let their guard down, says the LocalCircles survey.
Mask compliance has declined significantly as indicated by a previous survey conducted by LocalCircles in November 2021, which revealed that mask compliance hit new lows during the festive season, with only 2% of citizens saying mask compliance is effective in their area or district.
To understand if the situation has changed post the Omicron being detected in India, LocalCircles conducted another extensive survey to understand how citizens rate mask compliance in their area, district or city. The survey received more than 25,000 responses from citizens residing in 364 districts of India. 69% of respondents were men while 31% were women. 41% of respondents were from tier 1, 30% from tier 2, and 29% respondents were from tier 3, 4, and rural districts.
With the new variant getting identified and cases rising in other parts of the world, how are people in your city/district/area now complying with wearing mask norms? Out of the 8,633 respondents, 8% said that there is no compliance at all. Breaking down the poll, 19% said that 0-30% people are compliant, 32% said 30-60% people are compliant and 39% said 60-90% people are compliant. Only 2% of citizens said people in their area/city/district are complying well.
Mask compliance has seen a decline since cases started to decline post 2nd wave of the pandemic. In a survey conducted by LocalCircles in April 2021, only 29% of citizens rated mask compliance in their city/district/area as high. This percentage further dropped to 12% in September 2021. During the festive season, mask compliance dropped drastically to only 2% in November 2021. Percentage of citizens rating mask compliance as high in their city/area/district remains low at 2% despite the threat of Omicron variant in December 2021.