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The Times of India encourages people to make their own face masks...

...in an initiative where people who make and wear their masks (a preventive measure against the virus) get a shot at being featured on TOI.

Masks are an integral part of the precautionary measures we ought to take against Coronavirus - it can spread from one person to another and enter the respiratory system through droplets.

A report in The Times of India on March 31, 2020, spoke of the office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the government issuing a detailed manual on homemade masks that are easier to make and reuse.

Another TOI report on the same day spoke about the manual's recommendations, "A double layer of 100 per cent cotton cloth is about 70 per cent as effective as a surgical mask at capturing small particles (up to five times smaller than coronavirus). This material is breathable and it is easy to find around the house. These masks can be easily reused."

It further added, "Before making the masks, the fabric should be washed well and boiled for 5 minutes. Adding salt to this water is recommended."

Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on its website, “CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.”

Thus, The Times of India has come out with an initiative titled #MaskIndia. On the website, the copy reads, “Make your own mask, upload a selfie photo/video with it, and tag it #MASKINDIA”

It further said, “Play your part in fighting COVID-19. The best posts will be featured in TOI and on maskindia.com”

The Times of India encourages people to make their own face masks...

2,608 masks have been made till now says the MaskIndia website.

This initiative has already garnered a lot of traction over social media with Prime Minister Modi himself lauding it.

On making a mask at home, one can use a Tshirt or a dupatta and the CDC has some recommendations on it:

Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face

Be secured with ties or ear loops

Include multiple layers of fabric

Allow for breathing without restriction

Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

But, we must remember that along with wearing a mask, we must wash our hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser and maintain social distancing - these are our only ways to halt the virus' spread.