Harvard doctor says US should issue mandatory mask order across all states

KATHMANDU: A Harvard University doctor says the United States needs to issue a mandatory order in all 50 states to wear masks in public places to battle the spread of Covid-19 infection.

Dr Ashish Jha, director of Harvard Global Health Institute, during an interview with NBC's Today, claimed that wearing masks will not only help slow down the infection rate but also prevent hospitals and ICUs from becoming overwhelmed.

He further says that the country needs a national strategy and every state should have a mandatory mask order to prevent the situation where people will have to stay at home again. "I think all of us agree that going back to stay at home, shelter and place is the really last thing we want to do."

Although the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in April had recommended people to wear mask while in public, there is no national policy requiring Americans for which. The decision to enforce such recommendation has been left to governors in some states.

Governors in a number of states have required residents to wear masks including New York, Massachusetts, Illinois and Texas while some including Florida and South Carolina are resistant to implement the mask order in public leaving the decision to the mayors of individual counties.

Dr Jha also recommended that testing and contact tracing needs to be ramped up and certain establishments should be closed until further notice.

"Things like indoor bars, nightclubs, I think we just can't afford any of those right now, not when we're having these kinds of outbreaks," he said. 

Studies have found that states with mask mandates slowed the growth rate and had lower deaths.

In Nepal, as per a recent government decision, those going out in public without wearing masks will be subject to legal action.

Ministry of Home Affairs, on July 6, issued a directive according to which law enforcement authorities can apprehend anyone who goes out of their houses without a mask.

READ ALSO: Police can apprehend anyone without mask in public places in Nepal