Srinagar, March 14: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Monday said most people in Kashmir valley do not need to wear masks under new guidelines.
“Masks can come off in schools too,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Dr Hassan said according to new CDC guidelines, people who are living in areas of low Covid-19 levels no longer need to wear masks.
“Under new norms, masks are not recommended if average new cases fall below 200 per 100,000 population, there are fewer than 10 Covid hospital admissions per 100,000 people over the past one week and Covid patients are taking up less than 10 percent of available hospital beds, based on seven day average,” he said.
“If cases exceed 200 per 100,000 people, masks are recommended if new weekly Covid admissions exceed 10 per 100,000 people and patients are taking up 10 percent or more hospital beds based on a seven day average,” he added.
The DAK President said the recommendations no longer rely only on the number of cases in a community to determine the need for restrictions such as mask wearing.
“CDC has shifted focus to hospitalization and bed occupancy, rather than infections alone, to determine when masks are recommended,” he said.
“Based on these metrics, Kashmir now is a low risk area and we can lift mask mandate including school mask mandate,” said Dr Nisar.
He said with minuscule cases in the community and negligible hospital admissions, we can ease the guidance on mask use – not everyone in every place needs to wear a mask.
“We need to realize that we have to live with the virus and get back to normal life.
The new guideline of lifting mask mandate is a nod to that reality, and allow for a more sustainable approach to the living with the virus,” he added.