Tuesday 1 February 2022

Face masks should not be political

From a brother to all

After the Sung Eucharist on Sunday, the Dean of the cathedral before dismissing the congregation advised that we should all attend church wearing face masks, despite the relaxation of requirements and guidelines by the government. He said it would be a preference for our safety to wear face masks, and though he would not throw anyone out of the cathedral for not wearing one, we are in a community where we are each other’s brother’s keeper.

Much as there is much science, disputing, disagreement and clamour about the safety or protection a face mask confers, it is not perfect, but the consensus is that sort of face-covering provides some protection.

Mzansi doing better

I have been in South Africa at the height of the pandemic when there was a highly transmissible variant at a time when there was no vaccine and recently in the advent of another variant where there is a vaccine available.

South Africans appear to adhere to a higher standard of consideration and safety than I have ever witnessed in England. Many wear face masks when outdoors, before we access any public premises especially in the hospitality or commercial sector, there is a hand sanitising device at the entrance, probably someone would take your temperature and some places would take your telephone number for test and trace purposes.

All precautions matter

It is sad that the matter of face masks has been politicised, in the quest for individuality and liberty at the expense of community and consideration for others that we do each other more unnecessary harm. In addition, I avoid crowds and enclosed places, social distancing matters and as I am in the cohort of the vulnerable, I do not need to attend office premises, I can continue to work from home.

That I am fully vaccinated with a booster gives me a good fighting chance if I do contract the Coronavirus, but I am not because of those precautions going to throw caution to the wind and face the virus head-on in some fortuitous daring-do, the face mask is a temporary inconvenience as much as it is a practical, though imperfect screen from directly inhaling contaminated particles from the asymptomatic.

They carelessly endanger others

One can only wonder how dreadful it must be that yesterday evening Liz Truss, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom, was in the House of Commons amongst her colleagues on the front bench without a face mask, only to announce a few hours later that she had tested positive for COVID-19 and she has to self-isolate at home when she was scheduled to be off on a diplomatic mission to Ukraine.

Whilst I am not alluding to anything about the benefit or otherwise of face masks in that particular scenario, the exhalation of viral droplets in her asymptomatic seating could quite well have endangered and subjected some of those sitting nearest to her to contracting the virus. Even if they are fine, they probably need to test themselves just to remove the anxiety of taking ill. The fact that many symptoms are mild does not preclude the life-threatening nature of COVID-19.

Let’s keep safe

It is important that we return to viewing the face mask as a public health issue, a community matter and with the consideration of being our brothers’ keeper, it needs to be depoliticised and removed from the canon of dogmatic libertarian ideals of individualism to the detriment of common purpose and society.

People have needlessly died taking unreasonable positions during this pandemic, there might be no statistics for those who never contracted the Coronavirus at all, nothing wrong in not being counted if with all precautions you have been spared the fate of an unpredictable encounter with the Coronavirus.

Please, stay safe and do everything to help put this pandemic behind us. Thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are accepted if in context are polite and hopefully without expletives and should show a name, anonymous, would not do. Thanks.