It has been eleven days since the BC government removed the indoor mask mandate. “Face coverings are now optional in all indoor public settings,” their media release stated. “People may want to continue wearing a mask based on personal choice.”
Businesses and organizations can keep their own mask requirements if they choose.
Folks everywhere have been tossing their masks off. Phewf! It feels like spring is in the air, and COVID is over.
Only it isn’t.
We know. We’re exhausted, too.
The COVID-19 Modelling Group is a group of independent BC researchers. They’ve figured out that the Omicron variant, BA.2, “is rising rapidly in frequency and now accounts for ~50% of infections in Canada.”
COVID rates are pretty steady right now, which is reassuring. But even still, BA.2 means the pandemic isn’t over. No matter how much we all wish it were.
We’ve seen this before, haven’t we? A COVID wave subsides. Protections get relaxed. Then another wave comes in… Masks go on, masks come off, masks go on…
You get the idea. So why give up wearing a mask when the pandemic is still with us?
It’s literally the cheapest, easiest thing you can do to protect yourself and others.
Here’s the other thing about masks: they are very good at keeping airborne illnesses in check. Forget about COVID for a sec. Masks are good at keeping away regular colds.
Colds are a pain in the ass for most of us. But for some folks, they can be life-threatening.
Wearing a mask means folks who have lung diseases and other health problems are protected from germs that get passed around in regular times.
Since COVID started, fewer people have ended up in the hospital with non-COVID respiratory illnesses. Even in times when protections have been relaxed, like we could go to concerts and stuff, as long as we all still had to wear masks.
Studies from around the world show that masks are so effective that hospital admissions from flare-ups of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) have dropped up to 50%.
Maybe you’re healthy. Perhaps you think you can take the hit. But do you have any sick loved ones? A friend you haven’t seen in a while because they’ve been hiding from COVID?
Masks protect them from getting your cold.
Someone close to you might have a condition that makes them extra vulnerable to things like the cold, the flu, and yes, COVID. Your sniffles could lead to someone else’s hospital stay.
People with chronic illnesses have been locked in their homes, trying to avoid getting COVID because it could kill them. Doesn’t sound very free, does it?
Wearing that mask is simple. And it could save you from getting a crappy case of COVID. Or it could save someone else’s life.