By Rose de la Cruz | Published: November 25, 2020
Through all the months that COVID-19 cases have been spiking in the United States and parts of Europe, opposition for wearing face masks and shields have remained high and so with the campaign pushing for the use of these protections. Now, even Pope Francis in his recent meeting with NBA colored players who called on him to seek support for their campaign against racism, gave a pitch for mask wearing.
On Monday, Nov. 23, the Pope’s opinion contained in his new book “Let Us Dream,” contrasted the protests against coronavirus restrictions with the “healthy indignation” seen in the global demonstrations against racism after the killing of George Floyd in the United States.”
“Some groups protested, refusing to keep their distance, marching against travel restrictions – as if measures that governments must impose for the good of their people constitute some kind of political assault on autonomy or personal freedom!” he wrote.
His book “Let Us Dream” is derived from his conversations with his British biographer Austen Ivereigh, where he railed against those who claim “that being forced to wear a mask is an unwarranted imposition by the state.”
“You’ll never find such people protesting the death of George Floyd, or joining a demonstration because there are shantytowns where children lack water or education, or because there are whole families who have lost their income,” he said.
He added: “On such matters they would never protest; they are incapable of moving outside of their own little world of interests.”
The book, sub-titled “A Path to a Better Future,” is largely centered on his response to the coronavirus crisis.
“With some exceptions, governments have made great efforts to put the well-being of their people first, acting decisively to protect health and to save lives,” the pope said.
Earlier this month, Bill Gates, in the first episode of his new podcast with actress Rashida Jones, said he does not understand why people resist wearing masks.
“What are these, like, nudists?” the Microsoft founder said. “I mean, you know, we ask you to wear pants, and no American says, or very few Americans say, that that’s, like, some terrible thing.”
Gates said experts first based their recommendations on what they knew about other respiratory viruses, but COVID-19 turned out to be much different. Now the evidence that wearing masks helps to prevent the spread of the virus is “overwhelmingly clear.” The first episode also guested Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The evidence is overwhelming: Masks work to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In places where they are mandated, rates of COVID-19 sink and a recent model showed that if all Americans wore masks, 63,000 more US deaths could be prevented.
Alas, not all Americans are on board, snubbing face coverings as a political statement against science and for independence.
“The idea that somebody’s resisting wearing a mask, that is such a weird thing to me,” the billionaire Microsoft founder told Jones.
Jones said if Americans want to get back to normal life anytime sooner, “wear a mask or don’t wear but stay at home.”
“The mask helps you open up more things,” Gates said.
Gates said that early on, experts based their advice on what they knew about other respiratory viruses, like the common cold and the flu. Those illnesses might spread when people cough — but far less readily than COVID-19, which can jump between people who are merely talking.”
If someone with a cold spent an hour, mask-less, in a room with others, most people would remain healthy. But if a mask-less person with COVID-19 spent an hour in a room with others, “a high percentage” would wind up sick. “That’s like measles,” he said.
COVID-19’s ability to spread when people are asymptomatic is unusual too, he said adding that people with COVID-19 can be walking around feeling healthy and unknowingly infecting those around them.
Experts have also learned during this pandemic that homemade cloth masks, ideally with three layers, help to prevent the spread of disease. Early on, they thought only N95 or medical-grade masks worked and wanted to save the limited supply for healthcare workers.
But now, Gates said, “it’s overwhelmingly clear that the upside” of wearing a mask “is gigantic.”
“One of the things we’re dealing with is a degree of essentially fatigue that people have about going through this,” Fauci said. “It’s amazing. It is almost like a distortion of time.”
Fauci added: “I want to tell people, ‘Don’t give up. This is going to end. Science is going to help us with a vaccine and therapy, and if we pay attention to the public-health measures, we can gain control of it.'”