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The facemask challenge

Since the onset of the Coronavirus, I have learnt to manage my mask presence and mask deployment. But not so many citizens of the world especially my fellow Nigerians. First off, many of my people do not even take the pandemic seriously while others tag it a rich man’s disease.

But it’s the Pandemic fashion, a sort of bandage across our faces which has come to define us that is the subject of my column today. The essence of the mask really is to prevent droplets from our bodies from reaching another person through our nostrils or our mouths. This singular action of mask wearing while uncomfortable can protect the wearer and his neighbour, be it in an enclosure, a cab or the market square. I know how uncomfortable it is, trust me.

For those who wear glasses (I do for reading) the vapour from the mask can lead to steamy glasses affecting your vision and making you slightly disoriented. If you have a sweat especially the minty variety while wearing a mask, oh my God, all the mint gets in your eyes, smarts you and makes your eyes water. What about people who suffer breathing challenges like Asthma patients or people who generally have breathing difficulties? I do not have the latter problem but I do get boiled over and generally without air if I have worn the mask for too long.

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At The Eugenia Abu Media centre we have learnt to give participants mask breaks whenever we have trainings, pretty much like convenient breaks of snatches of 10 minutes in a 2 hour session. Participants are encouraged to go out into the open air, walk around and take a breather. It helps to open the brain and give the participant some measure of freedom. But it’s a small price to pay for safety although we all know that everyone does need a break from the mask. We all do feel imprisoned behind the mask in this new normal. That is if it is being properly worn. Therein lies the crux of the issue.

A vaccination reduces the symptoms but I have met people who have contracted the disease even after being doubly vaccinated

But before I go further. Let me quickly address naysayers. Yes, there is a Pandemic and while it may look like all is going well, people have died of this disease and there are still fatalities. A vaccination reduces the symptoms but I have met people who have contracted the disease even after being doubly vaccinated. I am still amazed that there are people willing to put their lives and others at risk and have chosen not to be vaccinated. It is truly a tragedy.

Be that as it may, I am now thinking of doing a comic strip for how nose masks are being worn in spaces that concern me. My driver and I have a run in because of his hilarious way of wearing his mask either like a beard or over his mouth like a gag. I was on the verge of sacking him last week but for some intervention. But go to churches and see educated people with the hanging between their upper lip and their jaw. This is even after the church warden has cajoled and persuaded people to wear their masks properly.

As they say in Nigeria, See enh, this Coronavirus is no respecter of persons. Qu’est que ce tu fe my countrymen? Wear your mask properly is a problem. I am unfortunately not a fan of the clear glass ones designed to make you look sexy. Doctor friends, pulmonologists and scientists have told us it is better to wear the mask and has at least 90 percent protection. I am not interested in all those fancy ones. Let us look like ninjas, it is okay, it is for protection.

Last week, a brother in-law narrated how a woman who visited his office without a mask was turned back. She then proceeded to request to borrow a mask from his secretary, the way you would borrow a biro. We still don’t get it do we. We still have all manners of super spreaders in Nigeria and people still do not care to wear the mask properly. I am just waiting because from the various ways I have seen the mask worn as a beard, as a lip guard and as neckties, in the not too distant future it might serve as Sunglasses for some. We wait and see. In the meantime, please wear your facemasks and properly. You could save someone’s life or yours.

Do the needful.

Thank you

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