Stair: A piece of cloth over face better than nothing at all
With COVID-19 infection soaring past one million cases across the globe yesterday, Hanover Custos Dr David Stair believes that the Government should make it mandatory for persons leaving their homes to wear masks to help slow the spread of the highly contagious respiratory infection.
Stair – who has racked up decades of service in the medical field, including as medical officer at the Sandy Bay Health Centre and as chairman of the Hanover Parish Health Committee and has conducted several clinics in West Kingston, Portmore, and Portland – told The Gleaner yesterday that despite there being differing opinions on whether masks are necessary for persons not presenting with symptoms of the deadly coronavirus, it is a case of better safe than sorry.
Cut spread in Europe
“I would make it mandatory for everybody to wear a mask once you leave your home because recent stuff has shown in some European countries that it has cut the spread of the disease dramatically,” he said, emphasising that it is important for Jamaica to flatten the curve as the resources are not available to deal with the end-stage of a major local spread.
“Everybody should wear a mask, so those who have it will prevent other people from getting it – and any kind of mask, not necessarily the N95, but anything, if it is even a piece of cloth or a bandana you put around your face, it does offer some help,” added Stair. “Any level of protection against the disease is better than no protection at all.”
Up to yesterday evening, Hanover was one of three parishes that had no confirmed case of the virus, but Stair said there is no room for complacency.
He stressed that Jamaicans should follow guidelines being issued by the health authorities, especially with regard to maintaining physical-distancing protocols, staying at home as much as possible, and reporting any COVID-19-type symptoms to the ministry.
Turning to the April 1 to 8 nightly curfews to restrict movement and gatherings, Stair wants stiff penalties to be applied for persons who run afoul of the regulations.
“That small handful of seriously undisciplined people can lead to the death of us all,” said Stair. “There are some elements who just do not seem to get it, and I will tell you that the level of ignorance makes everything worse. Most of the country’s problems today are born out of ignorance and the lack of discipline.”