Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Letters to the Editor

Are We Doing Our Best?

We’re trying to. Keeping our distance when we have to leave home for groceries or meds is now the norm. Talking on the phone, or online, has replaced visiting family or friends. If we are still out there as essential workers we follow best practices to keep ourselves and others safe.
In one regard, though, we are failing. It concerns masks. The advice of the experts has been confusing, some saying yes, some saying no. Lately opinion seems to finally be reaching a consensus. Masks are indeed another weapon in this war against the virus. But maybe not in the way we thought they were.
So if simple masks, the ones we can devise ourselves since the best medical variety are unavailable, are not going to keep us from getting infected, why wear one? Because they are not for ourselves; they are for our fellow humans. It’s simple. If they don’t get sick, neither do we.
The COVID-19 virus is a stealthy enemy. It is basically undetectable without a sophisticated test. Those infected may show no obvious symptoms. We can have it and not know, then spread it to anyone we come in close contact with.
Even the most basic of masks, a bandana for example, must be capable of blocking the transmission of many of those droplets or micro-droplets that spread the infection. Online there are countless videos showing how to sew a much better mask at home. Wearing a mask is not out of our reach. This is a step we can take.
Social distancing is good advice. Most of us are making an honest effort. But when we are at work, or when we must go out to shop, keeping the recommended two metre separation just isn’t always possible. Taking the next step means wearing a mask. If we are infected and don’t know it, the mask will be making the world somewhat safer for others. Who knows, we might even save a life?
The only way we will get back to our normal routines is by slowing the rate of infections and regaining the confidence to live our lives fully again. For the immediate future we should be looking at nothing but a whole population out there wearing masks. Remember, at one time a hockey player wearing a helmet was a rarity. Now you must put yours on before you step on the ice. Let’s all put on our masks, get out there and win this one.
Bill Smith
Bristol, Que.

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