Sat | Dec 4, 2021

Stop spitting on me!

Published:Wednesday | March 10, 2021 | 12:11 AM


I have noted with anxiety the current surge in COVID-19 infections.

I think the Government’s messaging around masks and social distancing could benefit from a little science:

• Microscopic particles of spit, spittle or saliva escape the mouths of people when they converse.

• These tiny particles often contain the virus of an infected person as they speak, whether or not they are symptomatic.

• These microscopic particles can be inhaled by the person to whom you speak at a close distance and cause infection.

This frank discourse ought to go down well in Jamaica where we have a cultural intolerance of people talking (and spitting) over our food or ‘up in our faces’.

A meme circulated on WhatsApp last year featuring two individuals talking in profile, first without masks. A lot of spit particles ejected into the air between the two speakers.

The next image had people talking where only one is wearing a mask and the particles between them decreased.

The third image shows both individuals wearing masks as they converse and shows a dramatic decrease in particles when both speakers are masked.

I think the Jamaican Government should capitalise on Jamaican’s cultural aversion to the saliva of others getting near their person or in their food.

Emphasise that even if you don’t see the spit of others with whom you converse at close quarters, the microscopic particles of spit still reach your face and body, and that masks are necessary to prevent this.