Dearest family, friends, and fellow humans I have yet to meet :)
Please. Stay. Safe.
This is a picture of the very first day in my life I felt the need to wear a mask.
It was two months ago today.
The real epidemic hit but two weeks later, but somehow we could already sense the storm.
You are probably feeling that point right now.
That fear to go out, that fear to touch anything, that fear to be near anyone the second they even clear their throat.
If you aren't fearful, then you should be.
I'm not talking about the fear which leads to panic.
Which leads to buying enough food for six months.
Or enough toilet paper for a lifetime.
That's just plain silliness.
I'm talking about a deeper fear.
Let me explain with a story.
About six weeks ago it happened. At the very beginning of the epidemic.
I was on a phone call which turned out to be the longest phone call I never knew could even happen.
And during the phone call, the person I was talking to started talking about wearing masks.
"You know, I don't know all the hype about everyone wearing masks everywhere they go. I think it's just plain silliness. You sure as hell won't catch me in a mask. No way. In fact I'm even thinking of making a video to tell everyone how crazy the whole mask thing is and how more people die from the seasonal flu..."
I listened as he went on and on.
After all, each person is entitled to their opinion.
And even if I felt far from comfortable with the direction of the conversation, I continued to listen.
I had no intention of changing his view of counteracting it, but after a while I decided to throw in my two cents.
You see, just the day before, a close friend of mine had messaged me telling me how they had been to a concert the day before. I was super happy for them.
Then they told me they had a chest infection.
And I was like 'you went to the concert with a chest infection?'
To which they said 'yes'.
And as I recounted this incident to my other friend, I said 'Sure, they may have only had a simple chest infection and deemed it safe to go out, but in going to such a large gathering, especially a concert, the risk of spreading that infection is multifold. Sure, it may be only a harmless chest infection, but none of those people who catch it are going to know that, and the cost in medical testing and self-isolation and fear and even public spending at this specific time is going to be significantly high, all because one person decides not to take precaution.'
'Of course, the numbers of fatalities may be significantly less than with the seasonal flu, but first we are dealing with something we don't have an immediate cure for, and even if the numbers are lower, those numbers are not just numbers, those are people. Those people are somebody's grandmother, grandfather, partner, father, wife, child. Those are precious people and in that respect alone the devastation is huge.
'It is not and should not be about us getting sick or not. When we don't pay attention we can facilitate other people getting sick, among whom are potentially vulnerable who may not get back up again.'
Keeping ourselves safe is about keeping everyone safe.
By minimising the amount we go out
By minimising the number people we spend time with
By minimising the things we touch
We minimise the risk of cross contamination.
By multiplying the precautions we take (including masks)
By multiplying the times we wash our hands with soap and water
By multiplying the times we stay home (even for the smallest cough)
We multiply the speed by which we can all get through this.
Masks alone may not be the be-all and end-all of epidemic control, but at the very minimal, particularly for those of us unfamiliar or uncomfortable with them, they provide a greater psychological awareness that we are in a period where we all need to come together and be ultra vigilant and be very very careful.
The sooner we all pull together, the sooner we will all get through this and the fewer the people who have to truly suffer because of it.
Stay safe my friends.
And let's keep everyone safe as we do so.