The social battle of COVID-19. To wear a mask or not to wear a mask?

To be or not to be? There is no middle way. You can wear a mask or decide not to wear it. Well, you could wear it on your chin, but for the sake of this discussion I will just call it what it is — not wearing a mask.

On one hand you have mainstream media narrative and adequate research.

On the other hand you have alternative media narrative and adequate research.

Your blood pressure may rise at this point, but yes, there is research that claims that ‘Available evidence is equivocal as to whether or not wearing face masks in community settings results in a reduction in clinically- or laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections.’ There is also a research that wearing masks for longer periods of time causes headaches and skin problems, other claims that using a cloth mask leads to infections and ‘should not be recommended’ (all the sources below).

So here we are, society once again divided and once again finding all the proof needed to confirm their group bias and fighting for “what’s right”.

I won’t tell you what’s right. Honestly, I don’t know.

What I know though is that seeing masked people on the streets rises your anxiety. It makes you feel endangered, insecure and powerless even if only on a subconscious level.

What I know is that I can’t look a passerby in the eyes and smile to them as I used to, because people on the streets are avoiding eye contact with strangers, frightened that they might get infected + the masks hide smiles very effectively.

What I know is that social activities make people feel secure and feel like they belong. They give psychological comfort that nothing else can replace and that has been taken away from us.

What I know is that constantly following death statistics and scary scenarios in the news isn’t helping anybody’s mental health.

What I know is that using medical masks on a global scale is generating hundreds of thousands of tons of contaminated plastic waste and we are on the verge of environmental catastrophe.

What I know is that lynching people for not wearing masks is not influencing them to change their behavior. Why would someone want to join a group that is aggressive towards him/her?

I wear a mask, but not for virus protection, I wear it so people around me were less scared and because I’m personally afraid of people aggressively assaulting me for not wearing it.

Maybe I’m too detached, but I am not afraid of the virus. I’m not afraid it will kill me, I’m not afraid it will harm me, the probability of this is extremely low.
I’m also not worried for my family. If my grandma dies, that’s ok, she might die any moment anyway. If someone else dies? Really when you think of it for a second — your close ones might die any day of any other cause — accident, cancer, heart malfunction, any other disease. Is that a reason to spend our whole lives living in fear? For me no.

I am much more worried about the environment, industrial meat production, hostility of strangers and the single-use-plastic influencing the rapid deterioration of our planet. Are you willing to limit that for me as I am wearing a mask for your mental comfort?

You might think that I am a psychopath by now, but the truth is that my life is good. My relations with my family and friends are strong that is why I know that if something happened to them or me — I have no regrets. No words unsaid, no hidden wounds. They know I love them and I know they love me. Maybe that’s why it’s easy for me to accept that when it comes to the final goodbyes I did everything I could to make it right.

Does that make me a freak who believes that the world is flat? Or is convinced that aliens rule the world? Am I a person that wears a tinfoil hat now?

Please, notice the hatred in these examples. I have read hundreds opinions with this kinds of insults.

The other side of the barricade is not saint, but usually the communication is more centered around “think for yourself”, “stop believing mainstream media” and not personal insults.

I believe in a world where people respect each other and care for each other instead of treating everyone around as a potential threat.

It seems like ending to me, but maybe some kind of summary would make sense in here.

My summary is — live your life so you wouldn’t have to be freaked out about a perspective of death and could enjoy every day instead.

Sources:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.16.20133207v1.full.pdf(delete this part when copying, it’s a PDF)

This study is the first RCT of cloth masks, and the results caution against the use of cloth masks. This is an important finding to inform occupational health and safety. Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection. Further research is needed to inform the widespread use of cloth masks globally. However, as a precautionary measure, cloth masks should not be recommended for HCWs, particularly in high-risk situations, and guidelines need to be updated.’ -> https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/4/e006577.short

https://d2zly2hmrfvxc0.cloudfront.net/Covid19-Masks-Plastic-Waste-Policy-Briefing.final.pdf?mtime=20200424170934&focal=none(delete this part when copying, it’s a PDF)

Works in Tech 💻 into art, culture and psychology. IG & Quora @alaisontime