Our best defense until a vaccine is found

Published July 14, 2020, 10:54 PM

by Manila Bulletin

The face  mask  has  become  the  universal  symbol  of  the fight against the coronavirus COVID-19 by  people and  governments  around the world.

The face mask, along with social distancing and constant washing  of hands, is now known to be one’s best protection against the virus, which is known  to travel in the air from the sneeze, cough, or  just  the exhaled breath of  an  infected person.  In the absence of a vaccine, prevention of infection is  today the best  protection against  the virus  and the face mask provides that  protection.

Most  cities and towns in the Philippines  have now  enacted local  ordinances  requiring  the wearing of face masks and maintaining physical distancing of one to two meters  from another person, with local police forces  enforcing the  ordinances.  The national borders are  guarded  from incoming  infections  by  the military and the Coast Guard.

Last Sunday, the  Joint Task Force COVID Shield recommended  that  active enforcement of the use of face masks  and  local distancing should now be carried out, not just by the police and the military,  but also  by  barangay tanods  and members of local government  units’ Public  Order and Safety.

Despite the best  efforts  of the police, there have been violations of the requirements  on face masks and distancing  in local, usually isolated  communities.  Barangay  tanods  will now  provide  the needed  
manpower in this effort.

. The face mask was also the center of news reports coming from the United States  Sunday, as  President Donald Trump, who had long resisted  wearing one, finally  yielded  to pressure  from  his own health advisers , and wore  a black one with  the presidential  seal  in a visit to wounded  military veterans  at  Walter  Reed  Hospital  in a Washington suburb.

President Trump  had  long resisted  appeals for  for  him to wear  a face mask, thus encouraging many of his people  to  follow  his example.  In the ongoing reopening of American states,   many Americans took to the beaches, the malls, and the streets, many without  face masks, and coronavirus infections soared.  President  Trump  setting a personal example of face mask  wearing should  help the country stop the  viral infections.

Ultimately, the hope is  that  vaccines  and cures will be discovered for COVID-19. Until that time, which may be months away,  the  basic prevention  techniques of face mask wearing, social distancing, and frequent hand washing are our best ways to fight COVID-19.