A video of anti-maskers in Florida has been circulating the internet these past few days. They are even warning of pedophilia, Satanism and death if wearing mask in public becomes mandatory.
Some may find the video cringy and a bit disturbing but there are others who believe that these anti-maskers may have their reasons one way or another.
So, the question now is this: Should wearing face masks in public be the ‘new norm’ in the middle of this pandemic?
While a lot of health experts encourage wearing face masks in public, there are some individuals across the states who are still refusing to follow social distancing guidelines as well as wearing face masks. And this attitude are due to several different reasons:
- In different social media sites, debates about the efficiency of wearing masks are still ongoing, with some arguing that masks aren’t that effective.
- To others, wearing a face mask makes them look weak or it could suggest that they are scared of getting infected so to show strength, they refuse to wear masks.
- There’s also this argument about religious beliefs. Clearly for some religious organizations, it is faith vs. fear. Some do not wear face masks because they trust God and that God will always protect them even without face protection.
- Some people’s idea of wearing face masks has always been a political statement while others, a sense of entitlement.
- In the US, where personal freedom has become a huge issue, some are stating that forcing everybody to wear face masks violates their civil liberties. A city in Oklahoma was pressured to ease a mask law after receiving threats of violence while a security guard in Michigan was killed after he didn’t allow a shopper who was not wearing a face mask to enter a store.
Some countries wear masks while some don’t. Why?
Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong. If you go out without face masks, expect a disapproving look from others. Just recently, a lot of European countries have issued their citizens to wear masks in public spaces especially in those where it’s almost impossible to follow social distancing, i.e. certain shops and public transport.
Though some states in the US have also given the same guidelines, others still refuse to wear one and it is a fact that some governments are still not convinced about the science behind the importance of wearing face masks outside.
The reason why there are some who follow the rules of wearing mask while others don’t is not only about the medical recommendation and government advice – it always boils down to several points such as evidence over debate, culture, history and even one’s personal freedom.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization’s official advice was that only 2 types of individuals must wear masks:
- People who are sick and have symptoms.
- People who are caring for individuals suspected to have COVID-19.
According to current research, COVID-19 is spread through droplets as well as contact with surfaces that are contaminated. Face mask can protect you but just in specific conditions such as when you are in enclosed spaces with others who are infected, who might cough or sneeze. This is the reason why experts advice that frequent washing of hands with soap and water is always the best defense against the virus.
Also, experts believe that we need to be real careful whenever we remove our face masks in order to prevent hand contamination. Wearing one could also create a false sense of security to the point that you’d end up forgetting or ignoring to exercise good personal hygiene.
However, in some Asian countries, everybody wears a face mask by choice – simply because they feel that wearing masks is being on the safe side and being more considerate to others. For many of these nations, wearing face masks has been a cultural norm even before the pandemic. In other parts of Asia, many are already used to wearing face masks when it’s fever season or whenever they are sick since coughing or sneezing openly is considered impolite.
The Sars outbreak on 2003 that has affected different countries in Asia is also one of the many reasons why Asians wear masks regularly. Aside from that, heavy traffic pollution and seasonal air pollution also forced people to wear face masks outside.
However, there are drawbacks to this such as mask shortages. Reusing disposable face masks is also possible, which could pose higher risk of transmission.
Harassment and racism can also be a problem in individuals who don’t wear face masks in such places. There have been reports where Westerners who are not wearing masks were blocked and shunned from entering buildings, shops and restaurants.
Let’s just all do our share to be safe. If you are going to crowded places such as shops and restaurants, make sure to wear your mask but if you are going to run outdoors, there are some rules to remember.
Should you wear masks when jogging?
That depends on your location so it is best to check with your city’s local health officials. In general, it is best to wear a face mask when you are going to run in a place where it is difficult to maintain social distancing. On the other hand, if you are going to run alone, there’s no need to wear a mask. Just be mindful about getting too close to others.
This rule also applies for other outdoor activities such as biking and hiking.
It is also important to note that wearing a face masks while running can affect your breathing so make sure to check how you feel while running with a mask on.
Is there a specific type of mask to wear when running?
Yes. Go for masks that are not too restrictive or too thick. There are workout masks available that are made from moisture-wicking fabrics. It should cover your chin and nose and fit your face properly.
And always remember, wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer or alcohol before removing your face mask.
Wearing a face mask when going outside will always be a personal choice but with the pandemic we’re experiencing, it’s always a matter of self-awareness. It should be an act of responsibility.