Flat White

#MaskUp or 'mask-off'?

11 July 2022

1:00 PM

11 July 2022

1:00 PM

Before Covid hit, we could barely imagine a reality where the world went into shutdown to safeguard ourselves from a new deadly pandemic.

Two years on, and we finally got back to something that looks like life pre-Covid, but there are now increasing calls for mask mandates to be reintroduced, and I for one, am all for it.

Despite the slip-ups of our state and federal governments during the first wave of the pandemic, there was a time when NSW recorded zero cases.

The international borders were closed, but life went back to normal, and all of us were feeling safe again, out and about at the shopping centre and anywhere we wanted to go.

The economy bounced back big time, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was smiling, and we were amazed to be in such a great position relative to the rest of the world.

Then Delta hit, and since then there has been a general feeling that we should give up on trying to beat Covid and instead ‘live with it’, despite the fact that last week there were over 76,000 recorded cases in NSW alone.

Since Covid came to our shores 10,225 people have died from it nationwide, and growing fast, yet over the last six months Covid cases and fatalities have rarely rate a mention on nightly news bulletins.

Another factor that has been brushed under the carpet by all levels of government is the under-reporting of Covid numbers among school children.

When masks were no longer required in schools in first-term 2022, parents worried about the very people they had tried hardest to protect, and although Covid-related deaths are lower in children, Long Covid can hit anyone, including adolescents. 

The irony unfolding across our education system is that children are back at school but so many have had an extra week or two off school recuperating from Covid, while teacher shortages are at all-time highs due to staff needing time off.

Rookie teachers are taking classes throughout the term, while others trained in the humanities are having to step in for science teachers who are away.

We might have had enough of the harsh restrictions during the last two years, but wearing masks at the shops or in schools is nothing to complain about if it means you don’t get the disease, don’t have to stay home for a week, or worse still, need hospitalisation.

There is still so much we don’t know about this virus and the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants prove that, with new research showing that being vaccinated or having natural immunity from having Covid is not stopping the spread of the disease.

For those who question whether masks stop people from getting Covid; I worked alongside a colleague who had Covid and was coughing all night without a mask on, while I wore mine and did not get it.

So far, I have avoided Covid, and I still wear a mask when in a crowded indoor area. Wearing my P2 rated mask is my last line of defence, and like the doctors and nurses that serve us well, I’m sticking to it.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Show comments