THE MASK DEBATE AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO WEAR ONE
By Gloria Jones
So in the early days of the virus if we can all remember back that far, there was no conclusive advice from the World Health Organisation to say that we should all be wearing masks. They simply recommended “If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection”.
However at the beginning of last month they updated their website by adding “Current information suggests that the two main routes of transmission of the COVID-19 virus are respiratory droplets and contact. Respiratory droplets are generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Any person who is in close contact (within 1 m) with someone who has respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing) is at risk of being exposed to potentially infective respiratory droplets.”
In the West wearing facemasks is not common practice for non medical personnel and many people in the West simply feel uneasy about it. Often assuming that the wearing of a mask implies that they are ill and that it sends the wrong signals, adding a barrier to social interaction. However many countries are now rethinking their opinion and the British Medical Association recently called on the Government to issue face masks for key workers and has also recommend that the public wear them siting that “it may help fight coronavirus”
Obviously in the UK there is a problem in that essential PPE kit is still not in sufficient supply but that doesn’t stop the public using cloth versions that are already readily available here in Pattaya. I personally have become a mask convert here. Initially. I was unsure of exactly how great a benefit they afford. However I now believe that properly used by putting the mask on with clean hands, making sure it covers mouth and nose,not touching it whilst on,rotating the use of different masks and of course washing them, it just has to offer a level of protection better than no mask at all.
Added to that it just stops the “them and us” feeling. We are after all guests of the Thai people and if it makes them feel comfortable to see us adopting their custom of the use of face masks then in my opinion that is exactly what we should be doing.
Obviously the use of a mask alone is insufficient to provide an adequate level of protection. Other measures must also be adopted namely : hand hygiene and physical distancing.Here in Pattaya we all seem very good at the former but less so as regards the latter.So lets all just be considerate and stay safe!
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