Masking versus Delta

Masking versus Delta

With the continuing spread nationwide of the highly infectious Delta variant and the sustained high COVID cases in Metro Manila even during lockdown, the Department of Health is urging people to use disposable face masks instead of those made of cloth. For those who still prefer reusable fabric masks, these should be worn in double layers or else lined with disposable filters to keep out the microscopic variant pathogens, according to the DOH.

Whether the mask is double or lined fabric or disposable medical-grade, it must be worn where needed, and worn properly. This may sound simple, but recent images of ordinary street scenes as well as private gatherings and clandestine bar operations show people eschewing masks as if the pandemic has ended.

Since the start of the pandemic, the country has had its share of doubters on the usefulness of wearing face masks to keep out COVID-19. There have also been numerous excuses for wearing the mask on the chin or below the nostrils, foremost of which is the discomfort and difficulty in breathing.

So far, however, there has been no story anywhere in the world about anyone suffering from a serious reaction to prolonged use of any type of face mask. On the other hand, scientific studies have shown the usefulness of masking to keep out viruses and other pathogens.

It wouldn’t be too bad if those who disregard masking rules especially in public places are the only ones who will catch COVID. Once infected, however, they can spread the virus to others and cause debilitation, hospitalization and death. The country may never see the end of this public health crisis.

With the DOH warning, there must be stricter implementation of masking rules particularly in public places such as mass transport facilities and public markets. Infection numbers since the start of enhanced community quarantine show the difficulty of containing the Delta-driven COVID surge, with new cases yesterday hitting a high 14,895. Wearing masks properly is a small price to pay for helping in the battle against COVID.