After the provincial masking mandate ended last week, I am continuing to wear my tightly fitted respirator style (N95/KN95) mask when I am out and about in the community in indoor settings around others.
A tightly fitting respirator mask may reduce my risk of contracting COVID-19 by up to 83%. But it also goes beyond protecting myself, it will add protection to those around me, some of whom may be more vulnerable to severe COVID-19.
I am fortunate to be fully vaccinated with three doses, young, and in good health. Were I to get COVID-19 at this stage, I would most likely have a milder illness, though that isn’t a guarantee. Chronic symptoms associated with COVID-19 could be possible – Long COVID is impacting many COVID survivors in our community.
I have daughters who haven’t yet had their chance to be vaccinated against COVID-19 yet. I am concerned and want to do everything I can to protect them.
I will feel more comfortable around others wearing a mask too because I know their decision to do so will further protect me, and my daughters.
Please be kind and considerate. If you’re around others and wear your mask it may make them feel more comfortable. If two people have different risk tolerances for their own reasons, the lower risk tolerance should be respected.
Wearing a mask can be a bit uncomfortable, yes. But it is a minor nuisance compared to the impact this virus has had on our communities over the past two years.
We are all tired of the pandemic. We all want this pandemic to be over. But in the rush to normal, if we drop our masks too early, let’s face it, we may end up back where we were in January of 2022 not 2020 before the pandemic. We need community and to work together as we find a new normal.
The new normal in this pandemic will mean keeping up with all vaccine doses that are recommended. It will mean ventilation improvements to make the air we breathe less risky to all. It will mean wearing a mask at times around others inside, especially when transmission risks are high such as the winter months.
In a new normal, continuing to wear my mask for the time being is a sacrifice I am happy to make if it means protecting those who are more vulnerable, including my daughters. I hope you do too.
By Dr. Thomas Piggott, Medical Officer of Health