Masks save lives. Masks are used by medical personnel to protect themselves from catching bacteria and viruses. Patients need to wear masks to prevent them from spreading diseases. So why is the general public DISCOURAGED from wearing masks? If soap and water, alcohol and physical distancing are considered sound moves to guard ourselves from COVID 19, why are masks not included in the recommendations for the public. Why do so-called experts use the statement that MASKS ALONE can not save us? The question is, who is advocating the use of masks in public as the SINGLE mode of protection? No one. Not a single freaking or panicky individual is putting all his faith and trust in masks to prevent infection. In other words, MASKS can COMPLIMENT soap and water use, alcohol and physical distancing.
In an ideal society where people with symptoms wear masks in public, the academic approach of limited wearing of masks might work. Unfortunately the real world is chaotic and undisciplined so each individual should do his/her own preventive measures since irresponsible persons could be coughing and/or sneezing all over the place. In closed areas like elevators, pubic transportation, airplanes and even fully air conditioned (or areas with huge electric fans) malls, groceries, supermarkets and drug stores the virus may be circulated more than just the prescribed 5 feet of distance. It is incumbent upon every individual to protect him/herself and his/her family. Wearing a mask will add a layer of protection to soap and water use, alcohol and physical distancing.
We fully subscribe to these Department of Heath tips.
DOH called on the public to be vigilant and practice personal preventive measures such as proper hand hygiene, social distancing, and cough etiquette.
DOH also called on people to refrain from visiting public places and/or attending mass gatherings.
Task force says no need to wear masks in stores
MANILA, Philippines — Supermarkets, groceries and pharmacies do not need to require people to wear face masks before entering their establishments but only to strictly observe social distancing.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases had not issued any guidelines that customers must wear face masks before entering supermarkets.”
He went on: “So let’s just follow that, social distancing. The supermarkets can determine how many people they can accommodate inside to ensure that there is still social distancing.”
Nograles made the remarks amid reports that some supermarkets, groceries and pharmacies had refused entry to customers not wearing any face mask.
The IATF has repeatedly emphasized the importance of social distancing, especially when people assigned to buy food supplies and medicines are outdoors.
Face masks, such as surgical masks, N95 masks and even reusable or washable masks have been scarce even before the rise in coronavirus cases in the country.
This was after Taal Volcano’s eruption in January prompted some Filipinos to buy an excess of supplies, depriving health personnel of the much-needed masks.
Healthy? Spare your masks for the sick, says expert
By: Germelina Lacorte Philippine Daily Inquirer
DAVAO CITY—Their high-powered firearms now proving useless against a microscopic threat, troops belonging to the antiterror squad here patrolled San Pedro Street, wearing black cloth masks that doctors don’t recommend.
A soldier told the Inquirer that the cloth mask was not really endorsed by his superiors but he merely bought it from street vendors as the threat of an unseen virus gripped residents.
“Cloth masks are not recommended under any circumstance,” said Dr. Kathryn Roa, an infectious disease specialist, as she told people what they should do to protect themselves against the virus.
“Just because they’re running out of face masks, they’re making face masks out of linen, that’s so sad,” she remarked.
As streets started to get deserted, the few who venture out wear cloth masks, thinking this would protect them from the virus. Even a security guard and a fruit vendor, who could not get a cloth mask, make do with a towel wrapped around their mouths and noses.
“Face masks alone would not protect you,” she said. “Our best friend is soap and water. Alcohol is only the next best thing.”
But for those who would insist on wearing masks, and by this, she was referring to surgical masks, she said they should make sure their hands were clean before wearing them.
“Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, before putting on the mask,” Roa said. “As soon as you put it on, the outside part is already considered contaminated, do not touch it. To remove the mask, never touch the front part. Instead, use the loops and wash your hands afterward.”
She said she often saw the mask being worn covering the nose and mouth at the start of the day, go below the nose at noontime and farther down below the chin in the afternoon.
“If you wear a mask, wear it with commitment,” she said.
Roa earlier raised the alarm over the shortage of personnel protective equipment (PPE), which included masks, for health care workers who would be at the forefront in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said the front-liners needed all the protection they could get to be able to take care of their patients.
Healthy people wouldn’t need surgical and even N95 masks because they would only contribute to the shortage and put the lives of health care workers at risk, she said.
“Just think, if health professionals get sick, who will take care of the patients?” Roa asked.
She earlier reacted to the “no-mask, no entry” policies imposed by schools and public officials in the early part of the crisis which, she said, would only contribute to the shortage of PPEs for health care workers and would not protect both the public and the healthy people wearing them.
Medical practitioners said healthy people should instead reserve those masks for the sick.
“In Japan, they call it a sick mask because you only wear it when you are sick,” said Roa. “But now, we are telling you, if you are sick, stay at home, don’t go out, you don’t need to wear a mask.”
Dr. Jean Lindo, an anesthesiologist, said in a separate interview she was even surprised to see a taxi driver wearing a mask at the height of the COVID-19 scare. “I asked him, ‘Why are you wearing a mask, are you sick?’ But he said, ‘No, this was only required by the company.’”
To illustrate this point, Lindo said three healthy people, each wearing a mask, could still get easily infected once a sick person who is not wearing a mask suddenly sneezes, spreading infectious droplets around.
“The droplets will be on everyone’s hair, clothes, mobile phones and even masks,” she said. “So, it’s best for a healthy person to give the mask to the sick person to wear because wearing it would be useless.”
“This is not the time to be thinking of yourself alone,” Roa said. “To combat the virus, we have to take care of each other.” —RICHEL UMEL