THE Davao City Council on Tuesday, July 7, passed an ordinance requiring those in Davao City to wear a mask in public places. Those who are caught not wearing a mask or is not wearing it properly can face penalties of up to P5,000 and/or one-month imprisonment.
To some, this may be over the top for a regulation on wearing face masks. However, in the time of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, covering our mouths and noses is a necessity to lower the risk of catching Sars-CoV-2, the virus causing the disease. Yes, this does not fully prevent one from being infected with the virus but it is among those that will keep you safe.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), wearing a face mask coupled with physical distancing lowers the risk of getting the virus. In a series of infographics, it showed that there is a very high risk of getting the virus if two or more persons are not observing physical distancing and wearing a mask. If there are two of you and only one wears a mask while the other is not wearing one, the chances of the mask-wearing person of being infected with the virus are lower. If both of you are wearing a mask, it can also lower the chances of infecting others and getting infected. However, if the two of you are wearing masks and observing one-meter physical distancing, the chances of getting infected with the virus or infecting others are even lower.
In a separate infographic, DOH also said that wearing a face mask can reduce the chances of getting infected with the virus by 85 percent. Wearing a face shield without a facemask can reduce the chances of getting infected by 78 percent. Therefore, when wearing a face shield, also wear a mask to lower the chances of catching the virus.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said “based on current evidence, the Covid-19 virus is transmitted between people through close contact and droplets. Airborne transmission may occur during aerosol-generating procedures and support treatments.” Therefore, wearing a face mask is one of the measures that could help prevent the spread of the disease and also protect one from getting infected.
However, WHO and DOH also remind the public that to really lower our chances of getting infected with the virus, we must also observe other health safety measures to go along with the wearing of face mask. This includes physical distancing of at least one meter; regular washing of hands with soap and water; avoid gathering as a large group; avoiding crowded places; cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and practicing respiratory hygiene by coughing or sneezing into a bent elbow or tissue.
Be reminded that while we are already under a modified community quarantine, Sars-CoV-2 is still around and there is neither a vaccine nor treatment against it. Therefore, we must take it upon ourselves to observe these simple health safety measures. Following these health safety protocols are not only to protect ourselves from the disease but it is also to protect others and ensure that our health system does not collapse.