Eliza Barclay’s Vox article response 3

As someone who has been following the news on the Covid-19 pandemic diligently since February, I didn’t find out anything new from the Vox article. I thought Eliza Barclay successfully combined many sources and clearly laid out the importance of social distancing – if I had to choose one article to show to someone who does not pay attention to the coronavirus situation, this might as well be the one. I very much enjoyed the Flatten the Curve GIF by Dr Siouxsie Wiles – this is a very important graphic that she made extremely clear and fun with the design. I had a look at her Twitter account and saw another great graphic she made about masks. (https://thespinoff.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Covid-19-Masks-05.gif). The GIF shows what types of masks should be used and how to use them safely. CDC now recommends that everyone wears a cloth face covering (such as a home-made face mask) in public settings. I’ve been finding it quite frustrating that the information about wearing face masks has been confusing – with different countries and doctors recommending different things. Many governments, including the US, were reluctant to advise people to wear them – which I can understand as there simply would not be enough left for those at the greatest risk of infection, healthcare workers in particular. Though cloth and surgical masks are not as effective as N95, they can play a role in reducing the spread of covid-19 – if used properly. Unfortunately, I’ve seen so many people wearing masks and touching the outside or adjusting them constantly – as I travelled home a few weeks ago, the number of people who were ineffectively using face masks at the airport without knowing it astonished me. It also worried me when I heard some of my friends say there’s no need to wear a face mask on the plane as they heard that they don’t really help– which is simply not true. While stock-piling masks is definitely not something we should be doing, wearing a mask we already have or making one and re-using it after cleaning is definitely a good idea, especially in in public spaces. The advice saying “masks are useless in stopping covid spread” unfortunately has led to a lot of disinformation. It is very important to educate the public on how to make our own & properly use masks – this way we can protect essential workers when we go to the supermarket. I find it very disheartening that the US president, despite being in contact with many people on a daily basis, refuses to wear a face mask and many other leaders, including Boris Johnson, were unable to set an example by practicing physical distancing and safety measures. Though I’ve written this post mostly about face masks, those who can should practise physical distancing as this has been proven to be most successful measure to slow the spread. I choose to call it physical distancing, as I’ve heard (and agreed) that the phrasing “social distancing” implies to many people that they cannot socially interact and be with others. Of course, we cannot physically be with them, but socially we can interact – on social media or by calling each other daily. The choice of words in this case may make some people less likely to stay in their homes as “social distancing” sounds scarier & is not really accurate in what it means.

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