The rare times I have gone out for essentials these past 16 months, I have been wearing facial coverings. When I go to a public area such as a supermarket, I wear a face shield in addition to my mask. Together with disinfecting or sanitizing alcohol solution, they complete the must-wear or bring when venturing out of one’s home.
I remember the time when the late Michael Jackson would go out and be photographed wearing a surgical mask back in the mid-80s and on-and-off up until he passed away in 2009. I wasn’t curious enough then to find out the real reason why he wore a mask, but when I try to think of my earliest memory of such a facial covering, the King of Pop’s image comes to mind.
In the early to mid-2000s whenever my family and I would visit Hong Kong or Japan, I would notice how some fellow commuters or shoppers would wear masks. I learnt that it was the locals’ common courtesy to wear facial coverings if they felt unwell. It was aimed at preventing others from catching the illness of the wearer or for those with underlying conditions, to prevent them from getting sick. The practice became even more prevalent and commonplace after the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS epidemic in Hong Kong in 2003.
These days, the few people I see when I’m running important errands are all wearing masks, most of them the right way. It has become the norm and one of our best chances at curbing the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
In England last 19th of July, some residents there celebrated the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions by partying and taking off their masks. I pray that all those who celebrated sans face coverings remain healthy and Covid-free by the 14th and even 21st week post unmasking.
For as long as we are in this Covid-19 pandemic, I don’t see myself abandoning face coverings.
In our country where minimum health protocols remain in place and rightly so, there will still be those odd few who will resist or scoff at wearing masks. As my experience tells me, there have always been those kind of people who seem unwilling to listen to sound and solid scientific advice or common sense even. I never paid the naysayers much attention pre-pandemic. No way am I listening to them now.