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March 20, 2022 – A Date To Look Forward To By Ontarians

TORONTO – Since the pandemic was declared by WHO close to two years now, one subject has been a thorn on the side of politicians, scientists and the world population: the wearing of masks. 

In the two-year flu pandemic of 1918 and 1919, people were required to wear masks in public. While most were compliant, some displayed resistance, complaining that masks were uncomfortable or bad for business. Smokers poked holes in them to enable them to smoke while masked. The material used for these masks was gauze yet some women were seen wearing fashionable masks of fine mesh which did not help much to prevent the spread of the flu virus. There was resistance then. One hundred two years later, there’s still resistance.

“The best science does support mask-wearing as a valid strategy to reduce Covid 19” says Dr. Stephen Luby, an infectious disease expert and epidemiologist at Stanford University. He does not end with this statement, though. He asks, “… how long do we do this, and in how many contexts. Do we wear masks the rest of our lives?”. Studies have shown that masks made of cloths give more than 50% protection while surgical, medical and N95 respirators, more, as discussed by Emily Anthes in her New York Times article “When Can the Covid Masks Finally Come Off” dated November 20, 2021.

Here in Ontario, Rachel Emmanuel of iPOLITICS, in her article “Only Ontario has promised to end its mask mandate early next year” dated October 29, 2021, discusses “the province’s plan to lift all COVID-19 measures including the mask mandate by March 28, barring ‘concerning trends'”. The words to watch out for are “concerning trends”. And, right now, a new variant, the omicron from South Africa is causing serious concerns in Canada, the US and Europe, with Canada banning travellers from South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini. The number of cases in Ontario this past Friday registered 73 short of 1,000, 494 not fully vaccinated, 55 with unknown vaccination status. Whether or not this new variant will cause a spike to the 927 reported cases as of November 26th remains to be seen.

I think we can all agree that wearing face masks is not only uncomfortable but can impede communication. We sweat behind those masks from the condensation wearing them produces, even in the dead of winter. We find ourselves speaking louder to be heard and understood. We greet each other with a wave because our smiles are covered by our masks. But we have to wear them to slow down the spread of the virus. The time for selflessness has come. This pandemic will end, one way or another. Our behaviour will determine its end.

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