Sat | Jan 16, 2021

Keep your masks on!

Published:Thursday | October 8, 2020 | 12:09 AM


The general pronouncements by the Ministry of Health and Wellness on the wearing of masks to avoid the COVID-19 virus are vital to our collective health. We are told that if we are infected and speak in public without wearing a mask, droplets can spread from our mouths and infect others nearby. This is clearly understood. I also understand that the wearing of masks is the most effective method of containing the spread of the virus.

What I cannot understand, however, is the general practice of some parliamentarians to remove their masks when they get up to speak during the sessions of the House. Certainly, those who are seated in the gallery and wearing their masks are somewhat protected, especially if they are six feet away, but why would some members of the House continue to speak, and very forcefully too sometimes, in an enclosed area where the droplets they expel would remain airborne for some time? That, to me, is a complete disregard for the health of others in the House.

Frankly, considering the recent election campaign activities, I am surprised that the marshal of the House has been the only one to have contracted the virus. I pray that he will recover completely and very soon.


I am also concerned about the media personnel who interview people, for as soon as the microphone is extended, the person being interviewed invariably removes the mask, if one is being worn, to speak. I would think that the mask is not only intended to protect the wearer from emitted droplets, but also to prevent the emission of droplets, and so one should speak, or even sing for that matter, through the mask. Are the reporters six feet or more away from those answering their questions? Are the microphones immediately sanitised?

We need to recognise that it is not only the man in the street who is at fault in this community spread, but also those who should know better. The sooner we get everyone concerned to accept and follow the simple guidelines of wearing masks in public, sanitising our hands, and keeping our distance from others, the better we will be where COVID-19 is concerned.