Coronavirus - Mask is the silver bullet - Don't argue, just wear it!

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

A few days back I saw a tweet, in which a young woman had written about her granddad illness, hospitalization, and her grandma's demise due to COVID 19. I read between the lines that she was heartbroken and devastated by this loss. Her grandfather was alone in the hospital because of COVID-19 restrictions. A lot of lives have been lost due to this pandemic. It kept me thinking of what we, on a personal basis, are doing to avoid getting caught in between.

As for that poor woman, a simple thing might have saved her grandma, if everyone was wearing the mask.

Somebody responded to her tweet and wrote that her husband got COVID-19 and that she was tested negative. Her husband got it because, in his office, a person resisted and refused to wear the mask. She added that at this time they are living on separate floors until her husband gets better.

It is a respiratory disease, for which we don’t have any immunity. So far, it has killed more than one million people worldwide. Some researchers are warning about the number, in worst-case scenarios, may exceed 3 million by January. The one-million milestones were hit on the 28th of September, according to the COVID Tracker case maintained by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Countries went under lockdown at the start of the pandemic, especially when they were getting overwhelmed by the people getting infected and by the alarming death rate. Now many are going under smart locked downs. Where ever it hits again; they are going to lock down that area.


We have seen the collapse of some of the best health systems in developed countries. They had never thought of such a disaster. Horrible stories were coming from Italy, New York, and China when they were first hit by the virus. Many developing countries got into lockdown too at the start of the pandemic, like India, Bangladesh, etc. without realizing what will happen to the people living below or on the poverty line. In Bangladesh, due to no facilities for the medical staff, they have shut down the hospitals during the lockdown. In Pakistan, many doctors didn't go to their clinics or even to hospitals due to a lack of PPE. All these countries are overpopulated, and in many areas, there is no proper health facility.

In India, for example, the government did open COVID 19 centers. But they too got overwhelmed by the number and the widespread infection itself. In Brazil, the death toll became one of the highest in the world. In countries like Ecuador and Venezuela people were found dying on streets, and even in the corridors of the hospitals.

The reason I wrote all this is just to summarize the fact that this virus is highly contagious and infectious. As far as science knows, it can easily spread through droplets. Some people even don’t show the symptoms while still spreading the disease.

It will take time to develop a vaccine or a treatment, if ever. The only useful weapon against this is wearing the mask. It can save lives.


When the road is slippery and there are bends, the speed limit drops drastically, and anyone who is over-speeding will hurt not only themselves but others too. Although, if traffic police caught you speeding, you will be fined, in addition to this, your driving license can be suspended for quite sometimes. The reason for this is simple; you are endangered to others. Compare this to not wearing the mask. We are putting others at risk.

I have seen on Reddit, some months back that a well-dressed woman was arguing with police when she was not wearing a mask in a public place in Australia. She was pretty upset and was constantly arguing that she was right and those officers have no right to ask her for her ID just for not wearing a mask.


As the effectiveness of mask-wearing in public places is becoming evident, countries are making it compulsory to wear. However, some ignorant and selfish people protested in London against mask-wearing this summer. The protests were organized by a group called “Keep Britain Free”. A separate rally is organized in downtown Montreal Canada to protest against mandatory face regulations. Ironically, it seems to me as someone is protesting against speed limits in the residential area.


Despite witnessing the collapse of the most efficient health systems against the utter numbers of infected people at the start of the pandemic, people are showing no sign of cooperating and responsibility. The UK prime minister is constantly telling people that if they have mild symptoms of cold then please isolate themselves and even don’t come to the hospital unless you have breathing difficulties.


People, instead of listening, have started criticizing his policies and refused to stay at home. One may criticize the Prime Minister for his policies or shortcomings; but not understanding the severity of the situation, only shows fear, paranoia, or they may think the louder they are the more they are right!


Of course, during lockdowns, the economy suffers; but one may live to fight another day. Ask those who lost their loved ones to COVID 19. So many doctors, medical staff, and public servants lost their lives during the first wave of the pandemic all over the world (RIP). The danger is still not over yet. The virus is new and a lot of research is needed, but it will take time to fully understand its pathology and epidemiology.

The easiest and the cheapest ways are to wear a mask and wear it properly until some other way is discovered. If you want to reduce the spread of the virus without burdening and shut downing your economy, wear a mask, and respect others when they ask you to wear one. Try not to make it a human right or ego issue.


Those numbers are not lying, the virus is highly contagious, and we can easily stop its spread by just wearing a mask. There are not enough hospitals and medical staffs that can cope with the huge and sudden numbers of infections, and somehow if they even may, you are still putting the lives of those public servants at high risk along with others; wearing a mask in public places, or where you are getting closer with another person, like at bill counter, buses, etc. can save lives.

If one takes a closer look at the relation of resistance against wearing the mask, the confusion started at the start of the pandemic, when WHO and CDC (center for disease control and prevention) were not recommending mandatory mask-wearing; because the evidence was not that clear. The epidemiologist like MD George Rutherford of UC San Francisco and infectious disease specialist from USCF Professor Peter Chin-Hong MD is shedding some light on the CDC’s reversal of mask-wearing decisions. In professor Chin-Hong's view, the earlier decision of not implementing the strict mask-wearing in public by the CDC was due to low disease prevalence. As the population wearing masks seems unpractical at times; and due to this, they were getting a false sense of security. Rutherford further explained that the expert’s decision was based on the limited supply of surgical masks and N95 respirators; which they thought should be saved for the health care workers. But in my opinion, they should have told the public to wear cloth masks instead, right from the start.

This virus has changed our lives forever. We were thinking that we are high-tech and fully equipped, but we are far from that. The solution is to make living possible for others and the best way is to wear a mask whenever going outside the house, especially in public places, transport, etc.


If we want schools and businesses to resume their ways, we have to manage our lifestyles while living with this horrible virus. The life of someone else is in our hands, so we should wear a mask and wear it properly.


What does it mean to wear the mask properly? Let me explain:

  1. Wear a mask whenever you are in the public

  2. Wear a mask if you'll be in close contact with someone who isn't family.

  3. Make sure the mask covers your mouth and nose.

  4. Don't put masks on babies and children who are under 2 years old or seniors who already struggle to breathe.

  5. Don't touch the outside of the mask.

  6. For those who feel claustrophobic while wearing masks, they must remind themselves that the mask is not hindering the breathing, and this will protect you and others from further spread of the virus.

Mask plays an important role in lowering the spread of COVID 19; nevertheless, it’s apparent that with that widespread use of masks, we should use it responsibly.


Cloth masks or coverings should be changed if they become damp or soiled, you can wash them in hot water with soap and allow it to completely dry before using it again.


The non-medical mask should be disposed of in the bins and must be replaced if they got damp or soiled. Please don’t leave them in your shopping carts and elsewhere.


It is important to remember the following when using non-medical masks and face coverings:

  • Masks with an exhalation valve do not protect others

  • Never share your non-medical mask or face covering with someone else

  • Do not handle a non-medical mask or face covering belonging to someone else

  • Do not allow other people to handle or touch your non-medical mask or face covering.

When I switch on the news channels and they are showing coverage about COVID-19, I saw nurses, doctors, and other medical staff begging people to isolate and wear masks. It is them, who are up in the front-line and fighting for us. Just give them a chance to breathe, just, for one second, think about them.


Sources:

1. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02762-y

2. https://www.natureindex.com/news-blog/behind-johns-hopkins-university-coronavirus-dashboard

3. https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/20/uk/london-face-mask-protest-gbr-intl/index.html

4. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/anti-mask-march-montreal-aug-8-1.5679598

5. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprevent-getting-sick%2Fcloth-face-cover.htmlC

6. https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2020/06/417906/still-confused-about-masks-heres-science-behind-how-face-masks-prevent

7. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-05-wrong-doctors-properly-mask.html

8. https://medicalxpress.com/tags/masks/

9. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-05-wrong-doctors-properly-mask.html

10. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks/how-put-remove-clean-non-medical-masks-face-coverings.html



 

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