I had never understood face mask wearing in public. To me, face masks indicated a cultural misunderstanding, a weird convention I couldn’t grasp. Were the wearers suggesting our pollution levels were up there with Shanghai’s, were we particularly foul mouthed, or were they themselves escapees from some infectious sanatorium?
I’ve now done a backflip on this thinking. The more facts I read about ‘Face Masks’ the more convinced I am that they will be key to us getting back to business as usual. Or at least close to BAU.
While a mask won’t necessarily save the wearer if exposed, it lessens the likelihood of infection. How it really helps is in protecting ‘the other’ from the ‘wearer’. That insight flipped my judgement of public mask wearing from ‘negative and weird’ to ‘positive and respectful’.
Supporting evidence is mounting by the countries ‘beating’ COVID-19:
- Taiwan – Masks are mandated in many public areas such as public transport
- China – Any region or city where there is the slightest trace of the virus, the wearing of masks is mandated by law
- South Korea – The Government has sent face masks to every house
- Singapore and Hong Kong – Have urged all citizen to wear masks all the time, as a sign of respect to others and a small amount of self-protection
- Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Israel – mandated public mask wearing
Results are showing improved reductions in new case rates when mask wearing is combined with various stages of lock downs.
A bandanna, an old school cotton handkerchief or a pharmacy bought face mask will help us all, and maybe get us back to work, and on with life, as we knew it. If we all get on board, it will normalise the previously abnormal.
What do you think about face masks in your world @work?