COVID-19: Support #masks4all to squash the curve

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We are petitioning the Director-General of Health (Ashley Bloomfield), the Chief Science Advisor (Juliet Gerrard) and the Prime Minister (Jacinda Ardern) to get behind the #masks4all campaign and encourage Kiwis to begin homemade mask production immediately in order to "squash the curve"

Should we be following the Czech model?

These are tough times and we all want to do our best to chip in, whether it’s staying in our bubble, observing the 2m distance when out shopping or simply washing our hands the proper way. These are simple things, but added up together it makes a big difference, which is why the Government is promoting these behaviours.

However, there is one other simple thing we can do: #masks4all! The evidence is becoming clear that we should each be wearing masks every single time we go out in public. Even though high-quality masks need to be reserved for professionals, homemade masks also provide protection. This is why campaigns to create and wear masks are sweeping the globe. (Even the US CDC has recommended it for the American people)

A media campaign in Czech Republic led to the creation of millions of homemade masks in less than a week, normalising their use and leading to a decrease in infection rates by protecting each other from the droplets we unwittingly spread. That campaign called #masks4all is now sweeping the world and Aotearoa should be part of it.

Their slogan is simple: "My mask protects you, your mask protects me"

The New Zealand government is needlessly causing confusion by stating that it is not important to wear a mask if you have no symptoms, yet we all know by now we can spread it when we are asymptomatic. A study from Iceland showed that roughly half of all people with COVID-19 did not show symptoms.  These people can still be infectious, as the recent case of the infected choir in the USA showed. And a study of an infected bus passenger from China on 22nd January shows that COVID-19 could spread up to 4.5m from the source. 

We are petitioning the Director-General of Health (Ashley Bloomfield) Chief Science Advisor and the Prime Minister to get behind the #masks4all campaign and encourage Kiwis to begin homemade mask production immediately. As the PM said in her press release before the lockdown, ‘act like you have COVID-19’. Our petition simply makes this line of messaging more concrete through requesting the government to implement proven strategies from the international arena.

Top health professionals in countries that have successfully flattened the curve such as George Gao from the Chinese CDC and South Korean doctor Kim Woo-joo state mask-wearing are essential measures. Shouldn’t we listen to them?

If we all wear masks when we go out in public every day, then we can ensure that we are protecting each other no matter what. It’s not about my comfort and convenience, it’s about putting each other before ourselves and saving lives.  And that means asking for unanimous support for masks. Let’s all pitch in!