March 31, 2020
Unless the coronavirus can be spread by farting, it makes total sense to wear face masks.
If Corona can’t get out of people, then it can’t continue to infect people.
This is where face masks come in. They catch nasty stuff coming out of the mouth and nose of whoever wears them.
Austrian officials announced on Monday that they were making the wearing of masks in supermarket mandatory in a bid to curb the coronavirus outbreak there, the first time a European government has taken such a step.
“As of the moment these masks are handed out in front of supermarkets [and] it will be compulsory to wear them in supermarkets,” Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz said, adding that the aim in the medium-term was for people to wear them in public more generally as well.
Underlining the departure from European practices, Kurz said: “I am fully aware that masks are alien to our culture. This will require a big adjustment.”
For health experts in East Asia who for months have encouraged the public to wear face masks amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Austria’s announcement could be seen as belated vindication in what has become something of an East/West divide in the debate over whether the measure helps reduce the spread of coronavirus.
While infection rates for places like Hong Kong and Japan– where masks are being worn, despite the lack of more drastic measures like lockdowns – remain low, their European counterparts are considering whether face masks should be made mandatory to help flatten the curve.
The masks to be distributed in Austria are below medical grade and aimed at preventing the wearer from spreading it to others by coughing or sneezing, Kurz said, adding: “Currently the infections are far too high.”
Hours after Kurz’s announcement, though, Germany – with 57,298 confirmed cases and 455 deaths – signalled it might move in the same direction.
Health ministry spokesman Hanno Kautz said that wearing masks in public may have a role to play when Germany starts unwinding the lockdown measures that are now in place.
Such masks, he said, could help protect others from contracting the illness from the wearer.
Face masks have been displayed in most of the early coronavirus articles about the Wuhan outbreak, but for some reason the West decided to dismiss it as a weird Asian thing instead of a proper and socially responsible response to the virus.
If supermarkets are pretty much the only places people are allowed to go to during the lockdown, it makes sense to make it mandatory for people to wear masks and gloves to get inside.
It’s just absolutely baffling how things are being handled in white countries.
We’re being told that the virus is deadly and that everyone will die unless people stop coming into contact with people, but at the same time people are not encouraged to wear these anti-contagion items in the places where they’ll come into contact with other people.
Instead of forcing people to remain in their homes, governments could just force people to wear face masks.
At least Austria is making a move that makes sense in this crazy context.