To use or not to use a face mask?

Are we in an age of confusion?

As COVID-19 seems to last for many more months, a controversy on the use of a face mask goes unabated, leading to the sheer confusion to the general public.

Lately, in Canada, particularly in Montreal, there have been some on-going protests against the use of face masks when the protesters demanded freedom. In the United States alone, countless protests have been staged. In contrast, in the recent finding of Vox Labs, COVID-19 Monitor, there are 83% Canadians who wear face masks as compared with the Americans with only 67% wearing face masks. Abroad, Robert Kennedy Jr., joined the Berlin protest against the use of face masks, as he postulated: “Those who are in power love pandemics for the same reason that they love wars.” And from Prof. Carl Heneghan of Oxford University also made a comment of cloth mask about the reinfection. And listen to Dominic Sandbrook’s, a European, comment: “Closing schools was ‘meaningless;’shutting borders was ‘ridiculous;’ masks were, by and large, a waste of time. And in the Philippines, Atty. Gadon accused the government of frightening people by asking them to wear masks. Gadon insisted that COVID-19 is curable!

With all of these pronouncements by some medical practitioners, scholars and well-known individual, the question has been over the head of millions of people if wearing a face mask will protect them and the other individuals in the spread of COVID-19.

I have been closely monitoring the use of a face mask whenever I go for a snap shopping at Walmart, Sobeys, Safeway, Save-on-food, Lucky Supermarket, Superstore and I found out that some people are considered “laissez-faire” while shopping while the majority are wearing various designs and shapes of face masks. And lately, the first major supermarket, Walmart, had imposed mandatory use of face masks followed by Superstore.

The Manitoba government has not issued a mandatory use of face masks but Dr. Brent Roussin, provincial health officer, identified the mandatory use of face masks in the hospital and in transit and in some other businesses in spite of the rising COVID-19 cases.The precautionary measures imposed by Walmart and Superstore are corporate decisions to avoid the transmission of COVID-19 while shopping. Social distancing in these business establishments are strictly followed.

Public safety experts note that you should wear a cloth face covering not to protect yourself but to protect those physically close to you by reducing the chance of some of your respiratory droplets come into contact with them.

And a recent study which looked at the research carried out in the countries of six continents concluded that “wearing face masks protect people (both health care and the general public) against infection by this coronavirus, and that eye protection could confer additional benefit.”

And from some medical quarters, they stated: “Face mask alone will not protect the spread of COVID-19. You must consistently and strictly adhere to good hygiene and public health measures, including hand washing and physical social distancing.”

So, with these crisscrossing of opinions on the health benefits of wearing a face mask, are you still confused?

I am not confused. And it is my choice to protect myself and others.