The COVID-19 Masking Mosaic

The citizens of Planet Earth have been wearing masks for nearly two years now or rather have been forced to do that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic that seems to be extremely reluctant to help usher in the much-awaited unmasking of the Homo sapiens. There have been varying degrees of protests or complaints or deemed-hazards of wearing masks continuously. In a way the citizens are showing signs of an acute mask-fatigue which is actually very unfair to even hint at in view of the pandemic-fatigue experienced by the tirelessly working medical fraternity-particularly during the peak periods like the disastrous Second Wave in India. However, the angle of the citizens cannot be wished away, because this is very real; in some cases the mask-fatigue leading to huge protest marches/uprisings in the US or in some European countries like Germany. Therefore, it becomes our noble duty to analyze the factors while, of course, keeping our mask-sincerity securely in place.

All around us we’ve been getting used to seeing people masking themselves in most unique ways: some loosening it a bit lower so that the nose remains prominently exposed as if they’ve only now realized the importance of this organ as far as inhaling oxygen and exhaling nitrogen is concerned; some are still bolder wearing it like a necklace hanging below their chins; some even the more bolder keeping it in pocket or bags and wearing it the moment the law-enforcing authorities surface; and similar to this class some others do the same while entering shopping complexes or the like where ‘no mask, no entry’ signboard is prominently displayed and the moment they enter they quickly say to the sellers that they have the masks, no issues (in fact the mostly masked sellers or shopkeepers should not just smile understandingly at them, but should command, ‘if you have it, why not wear?’).

The elderly citizens have not been complaining much as they realize the undeniable fact that they are the most vulnerable chunk of the population to get infected. However, vaccination in the full required doses makes them a little bolder in starting to complain if not in not abandoning the masks altogether. They often refer to some doctors (we’re not aware if they were real or fictitious) advising them not to wear the masks while taking morning or evening walks as it may adversely affect the breathing process. But many elders including myself have not experienced any discomfort in taking the walks with the masks on. So, some of them do not wear it at all and some demonstrate the other styles of wearing like keeping the nose out or using it as a necklace.

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