VIRAL: Have astronauts landed in the mall?

Published December 14, 2020, 3:08 PM

by Noel Pabalate

Shoppers caught wearing Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) inside Guadalupe Mall

A photo of two people wearing a Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) each is now getting traction on Juan Punch Man page. The said photo was posted by different Facebook users in with a common caption:  “Kaunaunahang astronaut nakalanding sa mall” (First astronaut to land in the mall). Judging by its caption, it was uploaded to make netizens laugh, however, many find it not really funny and came to the wearer’s defense.   

PAPR is a personal protective equipment (PPE) that has a hood resembling an astronaut’s helmet. It has a breathing tube connected to the air purifying device secured on a waist strap. The apparatus has layers of air filters and a blower unit that enable the user to be safe from the virus and breathe comfortably.

In the viral photo, the portable air filter was caught placed on one of the wearer’s butt, which others made it a laughing joke by encircling and captioning it with “Sariling Utot Lungs.” Many reacted against the comment and this is one of the notable replies: “Nothing is funny, pero Pinoys find it funny somehow. Air purifying ‘yan, di lang nya na-carry ng maayos. At least better yan, they’re taking precautions seriously. ‘Di sila nakakahawa or mahahawa. Mas nakakatawa yung nag susuot ng mask pero labas ilong. Lol.” 

Another comment stressed the ignorance of Filipinos who makes this kind of photo a source of entertainment. “Eto problema ng mga Pinoy, kasi lahat ng nakikitang kakaiba sa labas ginagawang katatawanan kahit seryoso ang sitwasyon. Dito lumalabas ang kakitidan ng utak ng mga pinoy sa mga nangyayari sa bansa.”

Meanwhile, a medical frontliner wished to have a PAPR but expresses her lack of budget to afford the P26,000 PPE. “I don’t know anong mali sa photo na to, bakit puro “haha” yung reactions. Kung pwede lang mag ganyan kami sa duty sa hospital eh. Kaso sobrang mahal, hindi afford. Akala kasi ng iba wala ng virus. Pero ‘di nila alam yung nararandaman namin hirap sa hospital dahil lang sa doble doble PPE suot namin maprotektahan lang sarili namin.”

At first glance, you may find wearing that kind of PPE in public is exaggerated, and maybe funny, but there’s a netizen who has the best answer to that kind of reaction:

“If you happen to have Covid-19 you will understand them. Being infected with coronavirus is not a joke. They are just more careful about themselves. Not like you! So if you think it’s ‘OA’ wearing protective gear when going out, then you’re part of the problem. This is the reason why the virus keeps on spreading because of that mentality.”