Face masks in 2020 reach a totally new level of importance because of the Coronavirus pandemic. A mask that people barely used other than surgeons performing surgery became the most essential product in the world. The focus was shifted towards the best prevention tips and methods for a Coronavirus that spreads and infects mostly through the nose and mouth and has no vaccine until a few weeks ago. Social distancing and other SOPs were preached too, but wearing a mask became the priority for almost every being on the planet.
Health practitioners worldwide were explaining the advantages of wearing masks and guiding about the proper use of it. The World Health Organization then announced the important most important tip that masks are your first line of defense against the Coronavirus and the most important one. While half the world obliged with these instructions, the other half questioned it.
The situation led to a sudden rise in the demand for masks, while the production wasn’t enough worldwide. On top of that, people started stocking up masks leading to a shortage in the market as the supply wasn’t enough. As a result, mask production was boosted around the world to meet the needs of society.
Some people worldwide shared how everyday items at home can be used to make a cloth face mask. While people were unsure of how effective it would be, the idea was very swiftly shared across social media. This is how the shortage of masks was met during tough times. It later turned out that using cloth masks was not such a bad idea, after all.
Questions surrounding the use of masks during Coronavirus pandemic
The use of masks encountered many questions. How can someone wear it for so long? How effective is it? For how long can we use one? These were just a few common ones. Week-in week-out, people would wait for WHO press conferences to find answers to a few of their questions. Some of these questions were answered through different researches done to identify the effectiveness of masks. It was shown that they cut down the chances of both transmitting and catching the Coronavirus, but they are still infallible, and distance should be maintained.
More questions arose when people found out different types of masks apart from the usual surgical mask like N95 and KN95. People wanted to know which one is more effective against COVID. At some point, there was even an ambiguity that only N95 worked against the new Coronavirus and became a worrying point as not everyone around the world found it affordable. N95 is not the only solution but the best out of the options available. It filters out 95% of airborne particles to protect the user.
Concerns related to acceptance of masks
Some people in every corner of the world refused to agree that any such Coronavirus exists and hence frequently argued over the idea of using a mask. Mostly, such people were feared and were forced to maintain maximum distance. Another primary concern around masks was the people who didn’t wear it properly and always left their nose uncovered. These people would argue that we are at least “wearing” a mask.
People don’t realize that everyone around you feels protected because of not wearing a mask as your chances of transmitting the Coronavirus to anyone are higher.
COVID-19 Masks becoming the norm
After beating a tough time of acceptance, masks finally become a norm for the majority of people. It became an additional item of your checklist in things to carry when you are leaving your home. Forgetting a mask before leaving your house feels like forgetting your wallet or phone at home. You just feel incomplete without it. That shows how much the importance of a single has been affected over the past year. Seeing people in public places without wearing a mask is what feels odd now, and not the other way around.
It has become so familiar now that people have started decorating masks to show off their creative skills. People have been painting their masks to support their favorite sports teams, even painting their masks themselves for movie dialogues, famous actors, favorite band names, etc. Some people also launched small online businesses selling customized masks, even taking orders as per customer demand.
After facing many ups and downs, the public has finally understood the use and importance of masks. We can now say this generation is better prepared in case another pandemic hits the world. We have learned how important it is to follow instructions from healthcare professionals, and in the future, people would listen more easily. People now are aware to some extent that stocking up everything is not in the interest of every individual, and we should always look at the bigger picture instead of fulfilling personal needs.