Please spare us from anti-maskers

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    ‘Without even looking at medical data, all this anti-mask sentiment from seemingly healthy folks can be swept aside with this fact: hundreds of thousands of surgeons and medical professionals around the globe are alive and well, despite using masks for prolonged hours in their line of work.’

    ANYONE who’s ever spent time on the Internet knows that it’s prime breeding ground for conspiracy theories. It used to be that tabloids like the National Enquirer in the US were the main vehicle for these theories, like Elvis Presley sightings and alien abductions and the like. As a child, I used to always stare at the front pages of these tabloids while in line for checkout at the supermarket, marveling at one outlandish headline to another. Until recently, it used to be that we only had to deal with anti-vaxxers and flat-earthers from the smarmy corners of the Web. Just when you thought things could not get more ridiculous, we now have… anti-maskers.

    I cannot help but watch in disbelief whenever I see news of groups or individuals protesting the use of masks come on. I remember shaking my head when I was watching a video of a town hall meeting in Palm Beach, Florida where several residents lambasted their council for daring (gasp) to impose a regulation making wearing face coverings or masks mandatory in public. It’s fair to say that health authorities across the world are one in saying that face masks reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19, in tandem with practicing physical distancing. Is wearing masks a freedom issue? No. Is it a political issue? No, it is not. It is, as mentioned by Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the leading infectious disease experts from the United States, wearing a mask is purely a health issue.

    Dr. Fauci encouraged everyone to “look at the data” when considering whether to wear a mask in public or not, and data shows that wearing masks is effective in protecting the wearer and others around him or her. I thought this mask issue was confined to the United States, until the governor of Cebu showed up in public without a mask, prompting citizens to ask the question. According to a report from Sunstar Cebu, the chief of staff of Governor Garcia said that the governor had an issue with inhaling the carbon dioxide from wearing a mask. Several reports also carried a statement that Garcia has asthma, and that prolonged use of a mask was ehem, detrimental to her health. To be fair, I have also come across photos of Garcia in public wearing a face mask, so it seems that this anti-mask mentality is a recent incarnation.

    It seems that Garcia is not alone in thinking that wearing face masks can somehow affect her breathing because of inhaling your own carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide toxicity or hypercapnia is the latest conspiracy theory sweeping across circles of otherwise healthy anti-maskers, which, to my mind, pretty much belongs to the same genus as flat earthers.

    Without even looking at medical data, all this anti-mask sentiment from seemingly healthy folks can be swept aside with this fact: hundreds of thousands of surgeons and medical professionals around the globe are alive and well, despite using masks for prolonged hours in their line of work. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

    An analyst interviewed on CNN put it quite accurately: “Not wearing a mask in public is like driving drunk. You may survive the accident, but you can kill other people.” So, wear a mask when you go outside, dear millennials and fillennials. Not only does it increase your chances of avoiding the virus, it also prevents you from carrying the virus to your family at home.

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