Most epidemiologists agree: wearing a face mask is the best thing people can do to stop the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, not everyone is an epidemiologist.
Right now, face masks are mandatory in Victoria, while NSW and Queensland recommend them for situations where social distancing is not possible.
“I think that this is the time because we know we have got the masks out,” Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said recently. “If they can’t maintain social distancing, then it’s time to use a mask.”
Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to put up with a minor discomfort for the public good, even if it’s mandatory. (See: Bunnings Karen.)
Which prompted us to ask our 27 Pedestrians this week: should face masks be mandatory in all states?
Absolutely not, Emma A said. She lives in a tiny town in rural NSW, where the closest coronavirus case is “300km away”. Why wear a mask when you don’t even have such a slim chance of spreading it?
Lacey-Jade, a nurse in Melbourne, gets it. Although she wears a mask every day at work, wearing one outside – which she does at the moment – creates a sense of claustrophobia and anxiety, she said. If you can avoid that, why wouldn’t you?
Emma S was a bit more practical, and said only states where community transmission was found should make face masks mandatory.
Most other people reckoned: it’s not that hard, so why not wear one? Both Albert and Sue were all for mandated face masks in order to protect our most vulnerable, with Albert adding that they should be made freely and widely available.
Desmond had this great point: wearing a mask is a huge psychological reminder to socially distance, which might make wearing a mask worth it alone.
So what should you do? Honestly: wear a mask. Especially if you can’t keep a distance. And definitely if you’re in Victoria.
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