Break the Stigma of wearing face masks

Break the Stigma of wearing face masks

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Belinda Huang started this petition to Scott Morrison (Federal Member for Cook) and

THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR DIVISION, IT SHOULD BE A TIME WHEN WE ALL COME TOGETHER.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, we should do better than sheer social distancing. The media has demonised the usage of face masks and overlooked the positive effects of wearing face masks to flatten the curve. It is not only for those who feel sick to wear masks but also for all of us in the prevention of catching the coronavirus. As shown in the diagram, the countries which have advocated for the usage of face masks display a slower increase of confirmed cases. This is no coincident.

The present situation in Australia is shocking; store workers are forced to work without the protection of face masks, as these are alleged to arouse fear. The bitter reality is due to INADEQUATE information regarding the use of face masks: a perfectly healthy person should be able to wear a face mask to protect themselves without worrying about the social discrimination they may encounter. This is ridiculous to violate the right of people to feel safe, and prevent them from undertaking appropriate actions to protect themselves in this unprecedented pandemic.

What is even more distressing is that those working in a hospital are obliged to the no-face-mask policy when not working in proximity to the confirmed patients. COVID-19 is indeed contagious when in the incubation period (no shown symptoms), and does not cause pigmentation in the skin (tattooing "coronavirus" on the those who have been infected). If we can't protect our healthcare workers, who are there to protect us if the situation continues to worsen. Actions are immediately required to provide protection for our nurses and doctors, armouring them for this hard battle.

COVID-19 spreads by contact with droplets of bodily fluids which can be dispersed in air or onto surfaces. These droplets can then come into direct contact with other people or can infect those who pick them up by touching infected surfaces and then their face. Since "essential activities" have to continue (grocery-shopping etc), our citizens are inevitably exposed to the risk of interacting with someone who is in their incubation period. The WHO advice that "wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing" is therefore not sufficient, as those with no shown symptoms can still spread the virus. The best solution is to break the stigma to enable the double protection (those in the incubation period and those who casually interacts with them) to check the local transmission (no known source of infection).

Although social distancing and avoidance of touching one's face are great media to prevent direct contact with the fluids aforementioned, wearing masks offers the ultimate protection against COVID-19. Surgical standard face masks are effective in blocking liquid droplets and can prevent the transmission of coronavirus interpersonally. In other words, masks can physically stop the potential risk of transferring contagious droplets from your hands to your face, instead of restricting yourself from touching your face. The benefit is clear and we should be allowed to protect ourselves.

COVID-19 is a life-threatening airborne disease, and we have not only lacked in the advocation of the correct usage of face masks but also stigmatised it. The Guardian even remarked that "wearing face masks can stop the spread of coronavirus" as a myth. Even though there is no guarantee that wearing a face mask ensures you 100% safety, it significantly lowers the risk of infection, especially by those in their incubation period and/or those with no shown symptoms. We should do anything now to flatten the curve and relieve the stress faced by the healthcare system. 

The government and media should do their job to break the stigma around wearing face masks. The limitation of face masks should be acknowledged, as well as its established effects to prevent the transmission of bodily fluids. We as citizens should be presented with genuine facts regarding the face masks and COVID-19, including ways to access the resource, types of masks, how to wear and dispose of it, etc. We can only combat COVID-19 when fully educated about ways to prevent it. Social distancing is not all we can do in our civic sphere, and it is not as enforceable and effective as wearing face masks.

THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR DIVISION, IT SHOULD BE A TIME WHEN WE ALL COME TOGETHER.

It is not the face masks which arouse fear; the fear is rooted in the unknown sources of infection. Therefore, demonising those who wear face masks against the potential risk of infection seems like a paradox.

Stay home and stay safe. If you go out, it is the best to wear a face mask, or at least don't disdain those who choose to protect themselves by wearing a face mask. 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!