Mask use and social distancing may prevent 2 lakh COVID deaths in India: Study

File Pic

Widespread mask use and data-driven social distancing measures in India may help prevent over 200,000 COVID-19-related deaths in India by December 1, according to a modelling study which shows the disease will continue to pose a major public health threat in the country.

The study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in the US suggests that there is an opportunity to further limit the toll of COVID-19 in India.

It highlights the critical need for people to comply with face mask use, social distancing, and other COVID-19 prevention guidelines as advised by the public health authorities.

“India’s epidemic is far from over, as a large proportion of the population is still susceptible,” IHME Director, Christopher Murray, said in a statement.

“In fact, our modelling shows there is a wide range of potential outcomes, depending on the actions that governments and individuals take today, tomorrow, and into the near future. Mask-wearing and social distancing are crucial to mitigate the spread of the virus,” Murray explained.

The researchers in the IHME study noted that India’s response to COVID-19 has produced some significant successes that highlight the opportunity to limit the pandemic’s toll in the country.

On the other hand, if lockdown restrictions continue to ease up and face mask usage remains at current levels, India can expect approximately 492,380 total deaths by December 1, according to the study. ‘In this scenario, the researchers said, 13 states would each have over 10,000 total COVID-19 deaths by that time, while currently only Maharashtra has crossed this threshold.’