Why Not Wear a Mask?

They vary in variety for one's own comfort

After what has felt like a long, long, very long 3 months without writing anything, I finally have the time, clarity and feel of Dostoevsky back from exile to attempt to clear one very nagging question in my mind. One that’s been lingering for the past 12 plus months.

It’s been reported that the third wave of the Covid-19 virus is ravaging countries across the globe. An increase in the number of cases coupled with an increase of the number of deaths. New strains (B.1.1.7 from the UK & B.1.351 from South Africa) are said to spread twice as fast while making people sicker and leading to more deaths. Some reports even suggest that the vaccines developed may not be able to curb them. Which brings me to my question. Why are so many people so relaxed in protecting themselves? No masks. No social distance where possible. People have even stopped taking the wash and sanitation of hands directive seriously. Are we not scared of death at our door? (Granted, I realize that those are 2 questions, but I would like to think of it as 1a and 1b.) Moving on.

Ardent mask wearers cannot be faulted for being disappointed and sometimes infuriated to see people not care about the rules. Rules and regulations put forth by governments to save lives. As we tread through these uncertain times, shouldn’t caution and safety be everyone’s number one priority? Both locally and abroad people are willfully ignoring mask mandate protocols. We’ve seen protesters in countries like the US claiming that being forced to wear a mask is an infringement on their freedom and rights. In Kenya, some people have stuck to the belief that it is all in Gods’ hands. That wearing a mask and choosing not to, is useless, if “your time has come.” Clinging more to religion as things go from bad to worse. “The graph of your life is already drawn,” they say. Not surprising is the fact that there were also anti-maskers during the 1918 Influenza pandemic. An Anti-mask League was formed in San-Francisco to protest a mask ordinance which lasted less than one month before being repealed. “Mask slackers” they were branded, as the US government ran newspaper ads to shame people into wearing masks and making them a symbol of patriotism.

David B. Abrams, a social and behavioral sciences professor at the New York University said that the polarization of mask wearing can be explained as “people becoming so afraid of change that they want to cling to what they believe to be normal and safe.” But isn’t part of evolution and becoming a better society the acceptance of changing with time? The number of people dying is rising again every day at a scary rate. We’ve all gotten to a point where we know of someone who has got it or unfortunately succumbed to it. If you haven’t, take a moment after this read and thank the heavens for that kind blessing.

Big economies like France and Britain have been forced to impose major lockdowns, open up and go back to lockdown mode again as the virus shows no sign of slowing down. Going at it an astounding three times! This led to protests on the streets of London last week as people complained that the lockdown measures are too much. All while (you guessed it) wearing no masks.

There should also be clear guidance and leadership from governments (which some, we’ll abstain from mentioning, clearly lack) on a united way forward to curb the rise of infections among its citizens. And as the people in government do their part, we should also do ours. Make sure we keep ourselves safe, as safe as can be.

Schools, restaurants, churches and clubs are open in Kenya and people are desperate for things to get back to normal. The gatherings, the parties, the dates, hookups, the ability to move from one place to another without fear. We pride ourselves a generation that values experiences. But at what cost to ourselves and those around us?

Even as vaccine rollout continues around the globe, masks are the best way to ensure safety. Especially in enclosed spaces. Think of it just not as a piece of cloth, but as a safeguard for you and your loved ones. Wearing a mask makes the person next to you feel safe, makes you more thoughtful.

I realize the more I seek answers, the more the questions pop up. So I finish by asking you this. Absent a vaccine or medication, why not wear a mask?

Writer on matters that affect us on a daily basis. I offer my thoughts and open to further discussion on topics posted.