, 04.06.2022 07:20 AM

My latest: mask it or casket

We don’t even have to ask.

About whether you’ve got friends and family who have gotten COVID, that is. Because we all know the truth: lots and lots of people are getting it. Everyone is talking about it, all over.

Maybe you’ve gotten it, too. Maybe you’ve got it right now.

Sure, lots of people have dodged COVID for two years. No longer: their luck has run out. And, now, it certainly seems like more people are getting sick than ever before.

COVID-19 — which never really left — is back. With a vengeance.

In Ontario, to cite just one example, it’s estimated that 30,000 people are now getting sick every single day. We have to use “estimates,” unfortunately, because Canadian governments have basically abandoned their obligation to carefully track how many of us are getting sick.

But some things we do know. Here in Ontario, again, 173 patients were in intensive care units on Tuesday — 96 of those patients required a ventilator to breathe. That number is up from last week. Meanwhile, yet more deaths — a total of 12,479 so far. And, tellingly, hospitalizations on Tuesday climbed past the 1,000 mark, for the first time since February.

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We can blame governments — of all stripes and at all levels — for what’s happening. But they’re only partly to blame. We’re to blame, too. Because, if we’re being honest with ourselves, we all know one thing has created the sixth wave more than any other.

Too many people have stopped wearing masks.

That’s a big mistake, and we’re now all paying the price. Here’s five simple reasons why we need to resist the temptation to toss out our masks. Clip and save.

They work — to some, even better than vaccines. The director of the Center for Disease Control has testified in Congress that masks have been “the most powerful tool’ in the war against COVID.

“We have clear scientific evidence they work, and they are our best defence,” Dr. Robert Redfield said. “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.”

Vaccines work, sure. But their effectiveness fades over time. And they don’t cure, they prevent. That’s not all: many people have bona fide reasons for refusing vaccines. But there exists no medical reason for refusing to wear a mask where the circumstances warrant it. Everyone is fed up with masks, of course. But they work. Still.

Masks are logical. COVID, as everyone knows, is spread through respiratory droplets — when a person coughs, sneezes or even talks. Redfield’s CDC says face masks, worn properly, are “particularly important” when you can’t maintain a six-foot distance from someone else. You can still get, and spread, the virus when vaccinated. But if you and everyone around you is wearing the right mask, properly, the risk drops to almost zero.

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Variants come and go. And not all vaccines protect against all variants, either, as we are now experiencing, the hard way. But masks work against every variant to date, and every variant that is coming our way. Whatever their genetic mutations, masks protect against any strain of COVID.

You know masks work. You know it. The outbreaks we are now seeing, everywhere, aren’t because people stopped getting vaccinated — they’re still getting vaccinated, and in record numbers in places like Ontario. It’s not necessarily because we got rid of vaccine passports, either, although that likely didn’t help.

The big change?

People stopped wearing masks. And COVID infections have gotten worse, and are getting worse every day.

The pandemic isn’t over. COVID-19 isn’t done with us. Get vaccinated, if you can. Socially distance and hand-wash, all that.

But don’t toss out your mask. Too many people did — and now too many people are getting sick.

— Kinsella was chief of staff to a federal Liberal minister of health


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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I’m not exactly MENSA calibre and somehow I was able to predict wave six while still wearing masks. You see, I like living. Being fed up and throwing away masks is for fools.

    So…now here’s my latest news flash for the foolishly naive: expect 2-5 more years of COVID-19 and remember to keep it wrapped and I don’t mean downstairs in this instance. And for the hordes who don’t like it: well, tough, suck it up baby!

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    Doug says:

    Resisting masking is not selfish. COVID will circulate forever just as colds and flus will circulate forever. All masks do is smooth out the peaks (i.e. the number of people who become infected spreads out over a longer timeframe but the number still stays the same). Given that vaccines have dramatically lowered the incidence of severe illness and hospitalization, smoothing out the peaks to avoid overloaded hospitals is no longer a priority. Masks have no practical use beyond signalling one’s tribal affiliation.

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    Edward says:

    I believe mask requirements in Ontario were lifted far too soon, they could have waited at least until folks came back from spring break to see what the level of infection was. I believe all reputable scientific evidence shows that masks do help reduce the spread of infection. Nothing is perfect but some things make things a bit better and really that’s all we can hope for.

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    lawboy says:

    So what caused the last 4 waves (during the mask mandate)? What is causing wave 6 in Quebec (where people are wearing masks)? I’m sure “masks work” if I am stuck sitting next to someone with covid for an hour or more. But I refuse to believe people catch covid at the grocery store…at the bank….at the gym….at the mall….at the coffee shop….while walking from your restaurant table to the washroom….while walking from your restaurant table to the exit door etc.

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