One of the last things that happened before the kids left school yesterday (see tomorrow’s post for more on that) was the news that one of them had a close contact in their class for Covid-19.
A lovely final kick in the nether regions from the 2020 school year.
But it does seem that this time around (even though we’re told by certain people that ‘tHeRe Is nO sEcOnD wAvE!’) the near misses are already nearer and more numerous than first time SA encountered Coronavirus earlier in the year.
While clearly sad and potentially rather scary, this is also a Good Thing. Too many people have been living under the pretence that Covid is something that only happens to other people and that they are magically immune to the virus. But although we’re only at the beginning of this next anticipated peak, it somehow feels closer to home. Only now is it starting to hit home that actually, there are people in their office or at their school, a friend or a neighbour that have been infected.
And unfortunately, not all the stories have happy endings.
I have watched the change in attitude in (some of) the skeptics that I know. It might all be a bit late, but there’s really no harm in modifying your behaviour, even if that switch only happens now. It might prevent you being infected or infecting someone else tomorrow.
It’s a piece of cloth over your nose and mouth. It’s washing your hands. It’s avoiding crowds and confined spaces. And sure: maybe even that doesn’t guarantee you total protection, but it gives you – and those around you – a much better chance.
Have we avoided it this time around? Watch this space, I guess.
Yep. I used to enjoy gym, but I simply don’t think it’s a safe place to be at the moment.
Actually, it hasn’t been a safe place for a while, but I still did seriously consider going back. However, one only has to look at the number of tweets sent to the Virgin Active account to see that the rules put in place to prevent virus transmission are neither being followed, nor enforced. And despite the Social Media Manager’s best efforts at repeated pacification with:
Thanks for letting us know, we’ll follow up with the club concerned
…the worried messages keep coming.
So, no thank you. My membership is cancelled.
The club putting “please wear a mask” and “please sanitise regularly” signs on and around the equipment are akin to the “no fly tipping” signs you see at secluded beauty spots: people really should already know. And if they weren’t obeying the rules before they saw the sign, they’re not going to once they’ve seen it, either.
And of course, the gym bunnies – the ones who go there to be seen, rather than to exercise – are all immune to Covid-19 (until they get it), and so they don’t need to cover up and protect themselves or anyone else. They didn’t wipe down the equipment BTV and they’re not going to do it now. Previously, it was just unpleasant – now it’s potentially risky. And with the gym staff apparently unwilling or unable to make people follow the rules, gym is a no-no for the foreseeable future.
I get why people don’t agree with the ban on the sale of tobacco. I don’t agree with it either.
But I can’t understand why people won’t wear masks. It’s so simple. So obvious. So straightforward. It’s so easy. I cannot see the downside.
Maybe the resistance is because of the other rules and regulations over which you have less control? Pushback against a government that one feels is taking things too far?
I know, I know – there are a lot of other underlying issues here. No time for those right now. Or… maybe… ever.
But wearing a mask isn’t difficult and it has benefits for everyone – even slowing the spread of the virus and potentially getting those other “draconian” measures lifted sooner.
Being asked to wear a mask is a no-brainer.
It shouldn’t elicit stuff like this:
u wot m8?
You don’t need me to point out just how many things there are wrong with this (spoiler: I’m about to list a few, anyway). It simply doesn’t make any sense. Where has this toddler been that everyone is wearing masks all the time? Why was everybody (and clearly, I mean everybody) wearing masks in Dubai for a couple of years before the coronavirus outbreak? What happened to this toddler’s parents? Why haven’t they taken him for tests? Or is he in hospital for those tests? Did they not discover any other underlying medical or psychological condition? How did they pinpoint it on the mask thing? I mean, it isn’t like the toddler could have told them, is it? How many toddlers are there in Dubai? How many toddlers are there in the world? Why is this toddler the only one affected in this way?
And then the big ones: Why would someone make something like this up? And why would anyone believe it?
Apparently, this now means that [fictitious couple but we’ve all met them] Justin Whitebru and his obnoxious wife Karen are free to breathe all over everyone while they jog on the Sea Point Prom with their friends before breathing all over everyone at the coffee shop around the corner.
Actually no. Let’s unpack this for Justin, Karen et al. (Al is particularly keen to learn more.)
And since the Constantia GreenBelt, the Sea Point Prom and all other public places where you might choose to exercise… are public places, that’s immediately game over for Justin and his “quick farve kay” buddies.
Let’s just summarise what we’ve learnt so far:
It doesn’t matter what you read on Facebook about not wearing masks while exercising, nor the authority of who posted it. The Disaster Management Act: Regulations: Alert level 3 during Coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa state that you must wear a cloth facemask covering your mouth and nose while you are in a public place.
Thanks for reading.
And because we’re clearly done here I should end it now, but like an irritating shopping channel, wait… there’s more!
Because I know that local rules and regulations don’t cut it for most people around here.
So here are some more words about this:
The main reason that we are required to wear masks when out and about is not to protect ourselves, but to protect those around us. No, sure, I know you know you don’t have the virus, Susan, because you washed your hands last Tuesday and you’ve been taking your supplements and all, but the fact is that you can be infectious while having absolutely no symptoms.
Wearing a mask while you’re having your jog means that you are much less likely to spread the virus to other people. It’s been shown that your trail of aerosol droplets is likely to be far larger while you are running or cycling than if you were standing still or walking, and if you do have the virus, those droplets are likely to be full of it , just hanging around waiting for the next person to walk or run through it. Wearing a mask makes this cloud of nastiness much smaller.
Add to that the fact that we know that activities which involve breathing more deeply: singing, shouting… er… running and cycling, also tend to release more virus from an infected individual. And that “one meter” that the WHO graphic suggests really isn’t going to help a great deal.
Thus, aside from being the law, mask wearing is also a moral obligation to protect the people you are running past. (Did you bring your morals with you today, Tamara?)
So that’s why you should wear a mask while exercising. But let’s review the two main reasons that the WHO mentions above as to why you should NOT wear a mask while exercising.
1. “It makes it difficult to breathe” – Aww. Diddums.
“If you think that running with a mask on makes it difficult to breathe, you should try having Covid-19.”
Read the stuff I wrote above and get over yourself.
2. “It gets sweaty and promotes the growth of microorganisms” – wut?
Well sure, it will get sweaty and then you’ll simply wash it when you get home and it will be clean and ready to use again.
Yes, just like you do with your clothes.
If you don’t wash your mask when you’ve been wearing it (for whatever activity, but especially exercise), it will get nasty. If you don’t wash your clothes when you’ve been wearing them (for whatever activity, but especially exercise), they will get nasty.
You wouldn’t wear your running kit for n days in a row without washing it (although this may assist with social distancing), so don’t do it with your mask. And if you still want to try and apply this weird and feeble excuse for your not wearing a mask, then please also choose to run naked.
(But also, please don’t.)
The W in WHO stands for World, which means that they are trying to talk to almost 8 billion hugely diverse people in hugely diverse communities and situations around the planet about these things.
One size will not fit all.
I’m willing to accept that if you are dancing alone in the alpine meadows of Austria…
…you are less likely to infect anyone than if you are running through the heaving streets of downtown Manhattan; that if you are deep in the Patagonian wilderness vibing to your PsyTrance with only your camper van for company, you’re not going to spread the virus like you might if you were singing opera in a busy New Delhi marketplace. (We’ve all done it.)
And of course, the WHO can’t cover each and every individual situation. I do understand that. And for Maria, pictured above, mask wearing probably isn’t necessary. She can breathe easy and not get a sweaty face. But Maria is all on her own with just the meadow flora and mountain peaks for company, and first-world Austria is well past their peak of Covid-19 infections.
It’s not Cape Town.
And no matter what you may feel about the integrity and authority of the SA Government, and the WHO, scientifically speaking, the reasons given by the SA Government for wearing a mask while exercising are very good. The ones supplied by the WHO for not wearing a mask are frankly nonsensical.
So: if you’re exercising (or doing anything else), in South Africa right now – YOU NEED TO WEAR A MASK.