I did something I didn’t think I’d actually do the other day. I sported a face mask while I did a bit of grocery shopping.
When I selected a face mask, I didn’t choose one of the paper or cloth masks I saw many wearing. I ordered a mask manufactured by a local company that normally produces boat covers.
These masks are made of a double layer of material with a HEPA filter that goes over the mouth and nose.
Too many people think that cloth masks protect themselves from COVID-19. Actually, it’s the opposite. Medical experts have said in numerous interviews that the face mask more likely protects others from any germs you may have. A good amount of debate about that continues.
They also say it’s entirely possible to spread COVID-19 to someone else even if you are not symptomatic. That’s a scary thought, because it means the virus could be spread by people who, by all appearances, have no sign of the illness. If that happens, it means doctors will have that much more difficult a time tracing a patient’s source of infection. Meanwhile, the asymptomatic carrier could be infecting others unknowingly.
That’s why I looked for a mask that might have a greater degree of protection — for me and anyone I’d come in contact with. And I felt like I must look like a character from the game Mortal Kombat:
I felt silly wearing the thing. I even worried someone might think I was a robber. After all, who walks into a store wearing a mask like that unless he’s definitely up to no good.
I was in for a surprise.
I was surprised by the reaction once I walked inside.
Actually, the lack of reaction surprised me. Some people nodded. Others took no notice. Some of them wore masks of their own, others seemingly ventured out with no protection other than faith.
No one looked at me as if I were a threat. No one treated me like I just stepped off a spaceship.
I think it’s a good sign that no one said anything or gave me any strange looks. It seems as if people understand now that COVID-19 is a legitimate threat.
What disturbed me more than anything was seeing so many without any kind of protection.
We still have a long way to go before this pandemic is over, I’m afraid.