DOH: Physical distancing, wearing face mask & face shield cuts virus transmission by 96%

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As the the confirmed Covid-19 cases rose to 139,538 on Tuesday, the Department of Health (DOH) urged the people to follow the behavioral changes that can cut down the virus transmission by up to 96 percent.

Dr. Beverly Ho, Director IV of Health Promotion Bureau in the DOH’s Public Health Services Team, said, “physical distancing, wearing of face mask and face shield can lower the chances of virus transmission.”

She said that according to recent studies, the wearing of masks reduces transmission by 96 percent for N95 masks and 67 percent for non-N95 masks, while the observance of physical distancing by one meter can reduce the chance of transmission by 82 percent with protection increasing as distance is lengthened.

Moreover, studies also showed that the use of face shields can be used complementary to face masks to further reduce transmission.

However, DOH emphasizes that face shields should not be used as substitutes for face masks and should only be used in addition to masks as added protection.

To achieve this, the DOH is urged the public to practice the “BIDA Solusyon sa COVID-19 Campaign” by regularly adopting the minimum health standards as a behavioral lifestyle as the country course through the new normal.

The acronym “BIDA” stands for the following:

B stands for bawal and walang mask or not wearing of a mask is prohibited; I stands for i-sanitize ang mga kamay, iwas hawak sa mga bagay or always wash or sanitize and avoid touching things; D means dumistansya ng isang metro or maintain a distance of at least one meter; and A stands for alamin ang totoong impormasyon or know the correct information and updates about the pandemic.

As part of the BIDA campaign, the Department released a habit forming checklist which summarizes and simplifies the minimum public health standards.

The first item on the checklist is the wearing of masks: this prevents a person from releasing droplets through the nose and mouth while protecting him from inhaling bacteria and viruses in the air. The second focuses on hand hygiene and disinfection: hand washing has been proven to greatly minimize the chances of contracting the virus as it destroys the structure of the virus. Furthermore, frequent disinfection of commonly touched areas or things is a must.

Also part of the checklist is maintaining physical distance as it reduces the transmission of the virus which happens through close contact, while wearing eye protection is recommended as it shields the virus from entering the eyes, which is another entry point.

As a reminder to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the checklist also encourages the public to always bring water and stay hydrated. According to DOH, ensuring that one’s well-being is in optimal condition lessens the likelihood of a person from falling ill. Bringing your own water prevents the public from fetching water through water dispensers which are high touchpoints and possible source of the virus.

For her part, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reminded the public to remain vigilant and continue championing the BIDA solution by following the health protocols, especially when leaving the house.

“It is much better if we just stay at home. But if we need to go out, just follow the BIDA checklist and always disinfect when we arrive home to protect our self, family, and community,” Vergeire said.

Covid cases

As of 4 p.m. of August 11, the DOH logged a total of 2,987 confirmed cases are based on the total tests done by 74 out of 99 current operational labs.

There were also 280 recoveries. This brings the total number of recoveries to 68,432.

Of the 2,987 reported cases, 1,374 (46 percent) occurred within the recent 14 days (July 29-August 11, 2020).

The top regions with cases in the recent two weeks were from NCR (614 or 45 percent) Region 4A (275 or 20 percent) and Region 6 (156 or 11 percent).

Of the 19 deaths, 8 (42 percent) in August, 7 (37 percent) in July, 1 (5 percent) in June, and 3 (16 percent) in April. Deaths were from NCR (7 or 37 percent), Region 7 (6 or 32 percent), Region 4A (3 or 16 percent), Region 6 (1 or 5 percent), Region 1 (1 or 5 percent) and Repatriate (1 or 5 percent).

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