By: Mike Anderson
From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic our public health officials have been unanimous in their condemnation of uninfected people wearing face masks.
They have repeatedly said that masks will not protect us from the spread of the virus and that we may well infect ourselves by continually touching our face to adjust the mask.
That position may be changing.
According to reports from Bloomberg News, the World Health Organization (WHO) may be reconsidering its position on the use of face masks to contain the pandemic.
This follows a statement by the director-general of China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), George Gao, who recently said that countries that fail to promote the wearing of masks are making a “big mistake.”
“The big mistake in the U.S. and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren’t wearing masks,” said Gao in a recent interview with the publication Science.
“This virus is transmitted by droplets and close contact. Droplets play a very important role—you’ve got to wear a mask, because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth. Many people have asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections. If they are wearing face masks, it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others.”
Indeed, one only has to look at the graphs showing the exponential rise in the number of global cases of COVID-19 to see that certain Asian countries, like South Korea, who encourage non-infected people to wear masks, have largely been able to flatten the curve.
Perhaps it’s time we rethink our position on face masks.
If a large percentage of cases are asymptomatic and are shedding the virus throughout our communities, doesn’t it make sense for them to wear a face mask?
The Post’s readers certainly think so. Our online poll shows that 64 per cent of respondents are in favour of being asked to wear a mask in supermarkets.
Let’s flatten the curve by wearing a face mask.