Wearing a Face Mask. This is still a matter of choice in many parts of the world, though there are places that have made it mandatory under certain circumstances. There does seem to be agreement that home made masks will not block the entry of a virus. These masks might, however, reduce virus spread by asymptomatic carriers. The effectiveness depends on the mask material, how well it fits, and the competence of the user. Social distancing is still considered to be the best way to prevent the virus from spreading.
The best article I have found to date, that discusses masks, is this one: Understanding Health Canada’s advice about Wearing Masks in Public. (Read the Author’s About page if you would like to know Blair King’s credentials.) He discusses Conscientious Mask Wearers, Conscientious Non-Mask Wearers, and Non-Conscientious Mask Wearers.
Wear a mask when you can’t social distance but when in public at a safe social distance it is just as safe to not wear masks. To be clear, if you see me on a bus; I will be wearing a mask. If the store asks me to wear a mask; I will wear a mask because that is store policy. But in situations where I can safely social distance, I will follow our health professionals’ advice and keep my hands to myself while keeping a safe social distance and not wear a mask.
– Blair King, Understanding Health Canada’s advice about wearing masks in public –
Of course, this is one man’s opinion and it might not mesh with everything you have read in your preferred mass media or what your friends tell you on social media. So be it. Mask wearing is still a choice in most situations. It is not the right or responsibility for any of us to comment on or shame others for the choice they have made. (This topic is discussed at ‘Behind the Mask’ at the blog ‘A Life Well Lived’.)
I’ll end this with a story that shows how hard it is to know what to believe these days – even when you get information ‘straight from the horses mouth’!
When we were getting ready to drive from Arizona to Alberta, I read mass media stories about states closing their borders. So I researched the entry/exit rules for the three states we would be driving through – Utah, Idaho and Montana. Each state website talked about 14 day quarantines if you entered the state, but that didn’t apply to visitors who were only going to drive through the state. Overnight stays were allowed too, as long as they weren’t in parks that had been closed. We were good to go for that part of the trip.
Then there was the Canadian website (returning Canadians without symptoms section). It said “You must wear a non-medical mask or face covering while traveling to the place you will quarantine (self-isolate). Go directly to your place of quarantine, without stopping anywhere, and stay there for 14 days.”
Hmmm. We had our own vehicle, we had masks… but why would we need to wear them in our car for a 4 hour drive? What if we needed gas or a bathroom break?
Fortunately, the people who write these things aren’t the people who greet you at the border and let you into the country. It was a normal border crossing, with a short discussion about Covid and some questions about where we were going to stay during quarantine. Last, but not least, we were told we MUST put on a mask IF we had to stop before we got home.
So, which mask type are you?