An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
SO, SHOULD WE WEAR MASKS, or not?
Early on in the pandemic, we were told not to bother wearing a mask unless we were sick. A mask might help stop us from spreading the virus, but would be of no use in protecting us from others.
Unless the mask was of medical quality it wouldn’t do any good anyway, we were told.
But that tune has changed dramatically in recent days. Federal top doc Theresa Tam and her B.C. counterpart Dr. Bonnie Henry are suddenly advising us to wear anything that resembles a mask.
By now we’ve all seen those videos of a face cloth or old T-shirt being folded up with a couple of elastic bands and — voila — becoming a serviceable face mask. No sewing machine needed.
But don’t wear a medical-quality or N95 mask because those are needed by healthcare workers.
According to Dr. Tam, the new recommendation comes after studying transmission from infected people without symptoms. But wouldn’t it have been smart to start wearing them right away? If coughing into our elbows helps stop the spread, wouldn’t a mask — any mask — help?
Surely we didn’t need science to tell us that.
While the message about the wearing of masks has changed dramatically, the experts continue to say it’s a one-way proposition — they won’t protect us from other people’s COVID19-saturated spit when they sneeze, cough or even breathe or talk.
I wish someone would explain that. Common sense tells us the virus can get in through our eyes and ears even if we’ve got a mask on but I’d like confirmation.
So, should we wear a mask, or not? The precautionary principle says yes. Though this isn’t a scientific observation, I’m pretty sure wearing one, at the least, won’t hurt.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.