If Shakespeare were alive today, he’d no doubt write a soliloquy on What’s in a Mask? Health officials worldwide have recommended mask wearing in social gatherings where the 2 metre social distancing guidelines cannot easily be followed (e.g: public transit). Quebec has made them mandatory as numbers rise.
If used properly, masks prevent the spread through infectious droplets, particularly for asymptomatic patients. They stop you from infecting others unknowingly.
Yet, very few people wear them. A recent poll by Angus Reid noted only 55% of Canadians wear them in public settings. When grocery shopping this week, I only spotted one other shopper wearing a mask. In fact, my wearing a mask seemed frowned upon and mocked. Why is that when it can clearly help?
After all, health experts say the evidence is clear: masks can help prevent the spread of CoVID-19 and the more people wearing masks, the better.
I think part of the unease with masks is they remind us that CoVID remains very real. Many are in denial, some believe they are scare tactics, others suffer from COVID fatigue and just want to believe it’s over. Well, it’s not. And the alternatives - getting sick, and/or having a massive second wave leading to further economic impact - are definitely worse than sporting a mask.
Free masks have been made available at fast food restaurants across Alberta. Community groups and associations are distributing masks, such as places of worship, food banks, courthouses, and many more. You can order them online, even from designers such as Tory Burch, and the funds from sales are donated to the fight against CoVID-19. I’d recommend getting some - have one in your car, one in your bag - as the second wave hits and mask wearing runs the risk of being made mandatory, you’ll be glad you’re prepared.
Channel that inner child and remember the time when having a mask meant you had superpowers - now, your superpower is fighting the villain CoVID.
For more information on masks and how to use them properly, please visit: https://www.alberta.ca/masks.aspx
Dear COVID-19 is a weekly column supplied by Drs. Rithesh and Veronique Ram