Chennai: A survey conducted by the Greater Chennai Corporation and the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Epidemiology (ICMR-NIE) has revealed a significant improvement in mask-wearing etiquette among Chennaiites. A July survey of 3,200 individuals (outdoors) and 1,280 individuals (in stores, pharmacies, places of worship) conducted across 32 slum and 32 non-slum streets has indicated 41 percent mask compliance in slums and 47 percent in non-slum outdoor areas. According to the officials that shouldered this effort, Chennai is the only city to have done dour
The improvement is noticeable, especially when comparing the results of surveys that have been conducted throughout the pandemic. Four rounds of such surveys were conducted – October 2020, December 2020, March 2021 and July 2021. The methodology was to select 64 streets at random (32 in slums and 32 in non-slums) and observe 50 consecutive individuals outdoors and 20 individuals in indoor spaces.
Indoor spaces included grocery and vegetable stores, pharmacies, religious places, apparel stores. Whereas, outdoor public spaces were streets in residential or commercial areas, markets, bus stops, etc.
The latest round of the study has revealed that 38 percent of the slum and 25 percent of the non-slum population did not wear masks while outdoors. “Indoor mask compliance was at 24percent in slums and 33 percent in non-slums. 39 percent of the slum population and 34 percent of the non-slum population did not wear any masks indoors” read the report.
Past survey data on mask compliance says that there was only 28 percent appropriate use in slums and 36 percent in non-slums(Round 1 Oct 2020). In Round 2 December 2020, the same was observed to be almost similar, whereas malls showed her highest compliance of mask discipline (57 percent). Round 3 in March 2021 showed 21 percent compliance in slum areas and 27 percent in non-slum areas. Thereby, the latest figures of 41 percent mask compliance in slums and 47 percent in non-slum outdoor areas is a significant improvement for the city.
While this can be seen as a positive development, it must be pointed out that there has been a marginal rise in daily cases in Chennai, over the weekend. With partial normalcy having returned and large companies working at 100 percent strength, restaurants, malls, markets, meat stalls open, the danger of a possible third wave is looming large. Experts have been advising sustained caution and vigil among the public, regarding the following of COVID-19 norms.
Sunday’s Government health bulletin said that the city had 150 new cases, as against Saturday’s 137 cases. Since July 7, 2021 the city has been reporting less than 200 daily cases.