Editorial: Do your part, wear a mask

It has been over six months since the COVID-19 pandemic reached Ontario. Schools are just returning to classroom teaching and many businesses have reopened. All are doing so with significant modification, and with public health guidance which includes wearing a mask while indoors.

Wearing a mask indoors is uncomfortable. It’s annoying to remember to bring your mask everywhere and to put it on correctly. There are those who legitimately are unable to wear a mask due to preexisting health issues. That is understandable and no one should be judged if they cannot wear a mask. Those who cannot legitimately wear a mask do not need to justify their health issues to others.

But then there are those who see mask wearing as a breach of their civil liberties. For them, wearing a mask is the government intruding on their lives and taking away their personal freedoms. The extremists believe in global conspiracies and that the latest cell phone network upgrades are the cause of COVID-19. Quebec premier François Legault responded to anti-mask protesters in Montreal last weekend by saying that these are the same people who believe Elvis is still alive.

Nonsense!

Wearing a mask is about protecting others in case you have COVID-19 and don’t know it yet, more than protecting yourself from getting the virus. Scientists, medical officials, and doctors have all said that a person can become infectious up to two days before presenting any physical symptoms of COVID-19. Many who contract the virus never present any symptoms. COVID-19 is insidious. Many of its milder symptoms can be mistaken for a cold or seasonal allergies. Without being tested, how do you know you have COVID-19? You don’t, and that’s why you wear a mask. Wearing a mask is you being responsible to prevent spreading the virus further.

COVID-19 numbers in Ontario are increasing. Not at the same rate as when the pandemic first struck, but the increased numbers are alarming. If the increases go up much further, we will again see shutdowns. It could again close businesses and schools, and more. The potential impact of a second wave of COVID-19 is unknown, but we do know how much of an impact the first wave had.

If you can wear a mask indoors, please do so, and wear it properly. Putting a mask across your mouth, but not up and over your nose defeats the purpose, and frankly insults others who are doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Do your part too. Wear a mask.

Since you’re here…

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