Ancient History Returns

Wearing a mask in today’s pandemic ridden world is an inevitability – it is clear how effective they are simply by looking at other countries who have been using them. Anti-maskers much like anti-vaccination people fail to see the benefits of using a mask despite the fact it is putting them and those around them at risk. I heard it compared to wearing a seat belt, why would you if your car has airbags and vice versa right? Well, the reason why you have both is that they work in tandem, they are not an either-or choice. I watched a YouTube video of people giving reasons why they won’t wear a mask and I am not unsympathetic to their reasoning, one girl had been abused as a child and claimed it would cause panic attacks if they were somewhere hot but realistically the mask won’t kill you and why purposefully put yourself at risk? Be thankful you aren’t a hospital worker that is stuck in the full PPE for their 12 to 24-hour shifts when you only have to wear it for an hour to do your shopping. It’s selfish and unnecessary.

I have also seen the other extreme of people wearing plague doctor masks, which I find amusing, they are a sinister throwback to a seemingly similar time of viruses killing off the population mistakenly thought to be used in the 14th century. Medical historians have attributed the invention of the ‘beak doctor’ costume to a French doctor named Charles de Lorme in 1619. He designed the bird mask to be worn with a large waxen coat as a form of head-to-toe protection, modelled on a soldier’s armour. The beaks were filled with aromatic items like sides and herbs to ward off the miasma which supposedly transmitted the deadly disease and protect them from infected patients.

As it seems that there is no single reliable study to confirm the percentages of asymptomatic cases different studies suggest a huge range of possibilities for how many cases are asymptomatic stretching from 5% to 80% of cases. That was the conclusion of an analysis by Prof Carl Heneghan of the University of Oxford and colleagues who looked at 21 research projects. The upshot, they said, was that “there is not a single reliable study to determine the number of asymptomatics”. And they said that if the screening for Covid-19 is only carried out on people with symptoms – which has been the main focus of UK testing policy – then cases will be missed, “perhaps a lot of cases”.

Being that is the case I feel it’s more than sensible to be wearing a mask unless you wish to be the unwitting spreader of to some a fatal virus. If I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I infected someone and they died, however, we live in a world that is seemingly more interested in pleasing themselves rather than protecting themselves and being considerate to others. I think we have now moved past the point at which its advisory, in the UK it is mandatory on public transport but I personally feel that it should be mandatory if you are leaving the house for anything. The number of people not wearing them and they don’t seem to care either will be the ones losing their loved one because they brought it back from the supermarket. The wash stations at each supermarket were used by people for about a week but now the restrictions have been lifted further people seem to care even less. A situation which I don’t think needs to be encouraged. The lack of adherence to any kind of distancing and hygiene measures is simply going to cause more waves, like a zombie game.

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