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The argument of wearing mask (or not) and what to do to avoid coronavirus

on Sat, 03/14/2020 - 13:23

It has been a while since I last posted any blog posts.... for those who had actually followed me, would probably know what I’ve been doing in the last eight months. I’m not going to focus on it as this is not the original message of this post.

At the time of writing this, Ontario had experienced a sudden increase of infected coronavirus cases, so as Canada as a whole. All levels of governments, over the weekend, had closed schools and community centers, gathering measures in placed resulting closures of churches etc.

I personally (and a few of my friends) had been calling for boarder closures to certain countries, but many people said Canada would not do that because we are too liberal and we only do things base on scientific numbers. As I was interviewing a family physician in Toronto, I asked, isn’t that too late if we do anything *after the numbers are in? The fact that we had the experience of SARS 17 years ago was not a lesson for Canada to learn from, shocked me as a Canadian.

Now that the virus had spread within the community, what we could have done is no longer as important. Knowing that “recovered” cases are still risk to the community, what can we do to protect ourselves, other than keeping personal hygiene and wash hands frequently (- absolutely not about stocking up toilet paper...)?

Looking at the global outbreak, Taiwan and Hong Kong is supposed to have infected much more severe because of geographical and economical tides with China. But those areas are having less cases because their citizens had been taking highly caution in response to the virus right from day 1 they heard of the virus.

According to a top infectious disease expert in Hong Kong Dr. Kwok-Yung Yuen, and Dr. Pak-leung Ho, a top microbiologist from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) both suggest that use of masks are effective in terms of protecting yourself from getting infected. Dr. James Leung, a family physician in Toronto stated that in the Westernized world, people believe only sick people wear masks and he urged the Canadian should at least tighten the measure of prevention as well as educate Canadians to accept others to wear masks (linked content in Chinese).

Dr. Leung stated that s research from Australia found that people who have sicknesses would not voluntarily wear masks just to avoid the way people are looking at them. This is because the Westernized world believes only sick people need masks to prevent their own virus and bacteria spreading to others. Of course, that is a responsible way but take this the other way round, taking different measures to protect ourselves should not be discriminated either simply due to xenophobia. Dr. Ho demonstrates how to properly wear a mask on Time. Please also reference Quartz's A quick history of why Asians wear surgical masks in public.

In general, the Asian world believes that use of face masks can help prevent yourself exposing to bacteria and virus. Keeping yourself clean and avoid touching your face (reference Why we touch our faces and how to stop it from BBC News) after you touch things (especially the masks you wear) that could likely be dirty is just common sense. Not keeping a healthy social distance is probably one of the reasons why the outbreak in Italy and South Korea got so severe. Italy has a lot of elderly citizens is probably why their fatal rate is so high. And of course, avoiding crowded places or places which are poorly ventilated with lots of people around you helps to prevent yourself exposing to any virus too. In fact, I had been saying, going to any big box stores alone will increase your infection chances just by lining up with all those people there.

Another thing many people are not aware of (which is also something the Hong Kong circle had been talking about for at least a month and a half) is: cover the toilet seat when you flush. Keep it covered till you need to use it. The flushing of the toilet while that large flow of water into the bowl causes spilling of bacteria to the air and the atmosphere around.

Dr. Pak-leung Ho in a video (content in Cantonese) he released earlier today urges Hong Kong citizens to consider going home and I agree with him too. Canadians who are currently out of the country (on vacation or business trips) should consider coming home while there are still commercial flights, and that lock down has not tightened - note that Canada had already limit international flights to certain airports. I was chatting with a friend, who is being ordered by his company to stay in Calgary before he can go back to Quebec till the 20th, that I have a feeling we might soon be limited even travelling within the country.

*just as I am writing this, I saw news on Foreign Affairs urging Canadians to come home.

*image from IMG Global

 

 

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