Ontario: masks dos and don'ts
To mask or not to mask: that’s the question
Many scientific authorities are approving and encourage the use of protective masks. This is now the most popular effort to prevent contamination alongside basic hygiene. While some countries return to their social activities created pro-masks and anti-masks debates among society. Such discussions wouldn’t be any different in Canada as people can see the rise of anti-mask groups.
One of the most known groups to question the federal and provincial measures regarding it is called Mothers Against Distancing (M.A.D). The group organized rallies in opposition to the use of masks in Toronto these last months. Letitia Montana, an insurance advisor and member of the group, defines herself as a “freedom lover”. She often expresses on Twitter and her Youtube Channel that the bylaws undermine the freedom of citizens. On a Youtube video posted in July, Letitia advises anyone who refuses to wear a mask in indoor spaces to claim to the staff to have “a medical exemption”. “ I try to be unapologetic about it. ‘Sorry, I have a medical exemption, I can’t breathe’ and they leave me alone” she says on the video. Another known name on anti-masks movements is Chris Sky, the creator of M.A.D, who organized a protest on TTC by July called “Hugs Over Masks”. He says to be not against masks but to against the mandatory measures the government is providing. “They say ‘is just a mask’ and the next progression of us giving up our freedom is contact tracing. If you go to a restaurant or a funeral home they try to get your detail, your phone number, and your name”, he says on an interview to another Youtube channel during a rally appearance.
The opinions towards these unwillingness to adopt the protective measures also vary. Maltee works in a daycare. The place has to be disinfected many times a day and they use masks and face shields for long hours. “Some people feel that they don’t have any issues regarding their health. They [those who refuse wearing masks] might think they can use supplements to nourish their bodies. Everyone has a point of view. But we need to be able to know what our health issues are and how to protect ourselves”.
Shipra works at the same place and feels safer adopting protective measures. “We have to see it back then and look at the future. Other than this we have no choice, we don’t what is going to happen. You have to protect yourself and your society. I am a social worker and I’ll request it [face coverings]”.
The student Tess Ha was born in Korea and moved to Canada with 11-years-old. Her family and friends already have the habit of using masks to avoid respiratory diseases before the new coronavirus could spread. A habit so popular in eastern Asia wasn’t easily adopted in western countries previously. She and her friends would observe non-Asian people often walking away from them in these situations. But now she feels safer from contamination and prejudice after the authorities adopted the mandatory bylaws. Tess have a direct opinion on anti-mask movements: “It must have a balance between your rights and responsibilities. I am not a big fan of it [anti-mask]. I went to an anti-lockdown protest to see it from far and that day was the first Black Lives Matter protest in Toronto. One side is screaming ‘I need my rights back to get a haircut and blah blah blah’ and the other is ‘I am suffocating, please, stop killing us’. I saw the scary amount of differences in what is happening between these two groups of people. Some people’s lives are in dangerous situations while some want the ‘right’ to not wearing a mask. Wearing a mask is not hard”.
However, some people might think that only wearing face shields counts as a safe face covering. They might be wrong. The nurse Maedeh Saadat is used with the routine Covid-19 imposed among healthcare professionals and clarifies: contaminated droplets floating through the air in contact with eyes can indeed put someone at risk. “Using the face shields with a mask covering nose and mouth is a must”. But because not everyone might have a face shield to accompany their mask, she gives an accessible trick: Maedeh always uses her prescription glasses while masked on and says people can use sunglasses or even labor protective glasses. On people who refuse to mask-on, she brings a piece of important information: people infected by the SARS-Cov-2 might not know this for many days and can infect others. So the face coverings are the alternative to avoid contamination from asymptomatic carriers.
- Luana Saturnino for Say News