The readers of Srinagar would usually open the newspaper, and be prepared to be faced with information overload, highlighting what was essentially ‘wrong’ with the world. However, on July 21, readers were in for a surprise when they opened the front page!
These days one seldom leaves an opportunity to call someone out for not wearing a mask. There’s the usual: ‘it’s a pandemic! what are you thinking?’ Meanwhile, a Kashmir newspaper - Roshni, which is an Urdu daily in Srinagar, has taken the game up a notch. Instead of broadcasting the benefits of a mask, and going on to give tall talks, it has gone on to actually attach a face mask with the newspaper.
Kashmir newspaper attaches face mask
Where one would see advertisements and colour splashed across the front page, a broad strip of blue filled in the expanse. This scrap of blue, with the power to control the destructive Coronavirus, was a message to all. Accompanied by a headline that read ‘mask ka istemaal zaroori hai’ (using a mask is important)’, the feature made it to the headlines of every other daily in the country.
In conversation with Free Press Kashmir, Jehad Shora, the mind behind the mask move, said that people of Kashmir were finding reasons not to wear masks. Considering all they can do is try and contain the spread through precautions, he suggested supplying masks with the daily. The Editor-in-chief, Zahoor Ahmad Shora said they employed more people to complete the arrangements. Additionally, they also sent the newspaper to the press three hours prior to give them enough time for attaching the masks.
Why is the mask so important?
While the virus spread like wildfire, masks became like a shield in the battle to fight this invisible enemy. The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) advocated the use of the face mask. Recent studies suggested that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus are asymptomatic. “Even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity — for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing — even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.”
In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. This especially holds true for areas which have shown significant community-based transmission.
“Wearing a mask is good for two reasons: It’s going to cut down 95 per cent of the breathing that sends the virus up to 6 feet away in a room, and also will reduce faecal/oral transmission by preventing the virus from getting into your nose or mouth” if you touch a contaminated surface and then your face,” say experts.
The Kashmir newspaper attaching a face mask was certainly a great move. One can hope other agencies too, take a leaf out of this book.