Owing to the clinical and public health implications of COVID-19, we aim to provide the proportion of population adhering to face mask among highest, moderate and lowest cases reporting by India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. COVID-19 pandemic has spread major chaos in the world. The health care authorities, scientists, virologists, microbiologists, public heath experts and each person from specific medical facility has been devoted to find out clinical implications, management, pattern of the disease and appropriate vaccination as soon as possible since the pandemic has begun. To date, no effective vaccination or treatment a has been developed except managing the complications of COVID-19 symptom by symptom (9). Therefore, health care authorities have enforced public health measures to mitigate the spread of virus in form of maintaining social distancing, country wide lockdowns, wearing of a face covering, sanitizing the hands regularly, and washing hands for at least 20 seconds as much as possible (4).
Overall, the present data revealed that 18 percent of South Asian population did not practice wearing face masks and a large proportion of the population that is 51 percent worn surgical mask as a face covering. Our data revealed that Indian population had lowest adherence to face coverings (67%) whereas Bangladesh (89%) and Pakistan (85%) had almost similar proportions of mask adherence. Nazli T et al. reported that 48 percent adult population in India wore face mask (10). Whereas Ferdous MZ et al. provided 98.7 percent statistics of mask adherence in Bangladesh (11). The difference in proportion reflection the number of cases presenting in each country daily. It is noteworthy that India is second highest country in reporting COVID cases daily. Most common reason of increasing number of SARS CoV 2 cases in India could be non-adherence to face coverings as India is most populous countries around the world. However, the country wise sample size in the present study is still week to represent whole population. Therefore, the findings could be inconclusive.
The sociodemographic factors give an insights of policy adherence among population. It is crucial to determine the proportions of variable involved in mask adherence. In this case, our regression analysis showed that the odds of mask adherence were higher among females, Muslims, Urban residents, secondary level education, post-secondary level, graduate level, post graduate level, employed, high monthly income. Jehn A et al. also revealed that females, urban population, older adults, immigrants were significant factors for mask adherence (12). Similarly, Zhong B-L et al. provide comprehensive analysis of sociodemographic factors. According to the employment, joint family system, older age and higher monthly income was significant factors in mask adherence (13). The comparison reflects similar factors in east and west parts of the world. It can be stated that mask adherence is not limited to ethnicity or racial preferences. However, mask adherence is a policy and depends on individual’s ability to comprehend COVID-19 as a contagious disease. The enforcement of wearing face mask varies widely around the globe. In comparison with western side of the world, face mask was set as mandatory requirement to step outside the house. The demand of masks has been substantially increased since the pandemic came into existence. It was reported that in China, Japan and Thailand, face mask were used more than once that led to inhibit the protect effective of wearing face covering (14).
The present data showed that Bangladeshi population had significant factors such as religion, area of residence, education level and employment status that played role in adherence to face mask policy. In one study, male gender had more mask adherence in Bangladesh (15). In Bangladesh, few studies have been conducted to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practices of COVID-19. The results showed that people in Bangladesh have significant knowledge and awareness regarding SARS CoV 2 virus. Half of the population had good practices of measures taken during COVID (15-17). The statistics of Malaysian population with regards to mask adherence was around 97% despite having high number of cases. However, the study showed that vulnerable population do not practice face mask and mortality rate was highest among these groups (18). The present data also revealed that in Indian population, religion, area of residence, employment status and high monthly income were significant factors in mask adherence. A survey in India showed that around 63% of individuals had good knowledge about safety precautions. Students had more knowledge in India than other occupations. The significant association of sociodemographic factors is similar according to the present study (19). In another study conducted in India, authors revealed 8 percent adherence to masks (20).
Our study has mainly focused on the adherence rate and associated factors with adherence, however cost and availability of mask in market could also influenced the individual’s choice. The determination of significant factors among different population is sole strength of the study. However, the data was collected as part of online survey and individuals who had access to internet had taken part so results cannot be generalized for people who had no access to internet. Though, the small sample size in not a representation of country wide population, still, the results can be set as standard to gather more data regarding mask adherence. The mask adherence is directly proportional to decrease in infection rate. Therefore, the statistics can be set as ground to discover the reasons of non-adherence to face coverings. In long term, the data can be helpful to determine which group to target to educate about face coverings.