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Thursday, July 16, 2020

Pandemic Diaries: The Mask Situation

It is everywhere. Videos of people protesting about wearing masks. Grown adults throwing childlike tantrums for being asked to wear a mask in public during this pandemic. People complaining that their rights are being trampled on just because they are being asked to put on a piece of cloth over their nose and mouth to help prevent the spread of COVID 19. Just what is the big deal?

Image by Juraj Varga from Pixabay

According to the people protesting, mostly in the United States, wearing a mask violates their human rights. I do not understand how that is a violation considering that wearing a mask helps people to prevent the spread of a life-threatening disease. Wouldn’t it be more a violation of human rights if we prevent people from taking precautions that can save lives?

There has been the argument that wearing masks for hours at a time is not healthy and that it lowers our oxygen levels. Doctors have repeatedly gone on TV and on social media to disprove this. If doctors can wear masks for hours during surgery and not get sick from doing it, we can wear masks too. A video of a nurse using an oximeter before and after wearing a mask also disproves the argument that it lowers oxygen levels. Sadly, the propaganda against wearing masks is still ongoing. 

Here in the country, particularly in my area, most people are wearing masks. I say most because there are still several people who I run into who are mask-free. Some argue that they are too far from other people to need them, that the social distance they are keeping from others is enough protection (I disagree, but then I am not a doctor so I am not going to start arguing about it). There are also others who have this misconception that with restrictions lowered and no new cases in our area, it is safe not to wear a mask. To me that is wrong. As long as the virus exists and there is no vaccine, it is not safe. 

Yes, our area is safer than others since we have not had a new case in a while and those existing cases reported have since recovered (two, sadly, have passed away). That, however, is not enough for us to be complacent. The virus could enter and infect at any time. It could come from other places that people in our area have visited.  Just one person who is asymptomatic can unknowingly bring this virus over. All it takes is one. I have seen the movie Contagion; I have an idea of how this could happen. It could be passed in such unsuspecting ways then have deadly consequences. We really cannot take any chances. If wearing a mask makes a world of difference, why are we refusing to do so?

I admit, it is a bit of a hassle to be wearing a mask, especially since it is not something that we are used to doing. At first, I would use those disposable surgical masks but after realizing that it was not good for the environment (and those in the healthcare profession need it more), I switched to reusable cloth masks. There’s a whole other argument over how effective cloth masks are vs surgical masks but as long as the doctors I’ve seen on TV have said cloth masks are OK, I will continue to use them.

The masks I use now are masks that I bought from local clothing company Syala Collections. There are various options to choose from, but I prefer their plus size masks, which I bought in plain colors (gray, navy blue and black - to make them easier to mix/match with my clothing). The masks have inserts where filters go but I find that the material is good and thick enough even without it. I wash the masks after every use. I think the material is of good quality and that it will last me a while even if it is washed daily because when I place it in water, it does not get wet easily. It makes me think that means that any droplets from the mask outside does not go inside and vice versa, which is comforting.


Each mask cost me only P78.00 and Syala’s customer service is very friendly and helpful, which is why I highly recommend them or masks (#NotAnAd). Their plus size masks are my favorite because of the coverage. I bought their adult size masks, but the plus size ones cover the lower half of my face more. 

To me, wearing a mask is not just about protecting myself, but it is also about protecting the ones that I love. If I can prevent getting infected and infecting other people just by putting it on, I have no complaints. I really wish other people would think the same way. I dread the thought that it will only be when they or the ones they love get infected that they will realize the importance of this precaution.  Everyone should start wearing masks now, before it is too late. 

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