The – Unacceptable – Politicization of the Mask

At an accelerating pace, more and more states in the United States, as well as countries in Asia and Europe, are opening their economies.

In New York, the number of cases and deaths is declining.

Road traffic – except for Manhattan – is back. The masks on people’s faces are dwindling.

The impression, then, is that the catastrophic first wave of the coronavirus, which has caused the worst crisis to face mankind since World War II, is coming to an end and that it’s time to move on with our lives.

I wish things were like that, but they are not. And who wouldn't want that to be the case? Unfortunately, however, the crisis is not over.

A couple of days ago, Dr. Mike Ryan, the Executive Director of the World Health Organization, said, “We're right in the middle of the first wave globally… We're still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up.”

And he referred to the terrible conditions in South America and South Asia.

However, the crisis in the United States, Greece, and Cyprus is in decline. Moreso in Greece and Cyprus than here. All three countries are struggling to open their economies. It's time. And Greece and Cyprus are under extra pressure because of their tourist seasons.

But now we need to be even more careful.

If we don't continue to pay attention, if we relax too quickly, the second wave of the coronavirus, which many predict will come in the fall, will be worse than expected.

What should we do? Keep doing what we have been doing so far. Continue social distancing – keep wearing masks and gloves

Unfortunately, the issue of masks has taken an unacceptable turn. From a purely health issue, it has become a political issue.

President Donald Trump does not wear masks in public, apparently wanting to downplay the danger. During his recent visit to the Ford plant in Detroit, he took his mask off in front of reporters, so as not to give them the ‘satisfaction’ of seeing him in a mask.

Former Vice President and Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden, on the other hand, wore a mask during a Memorial Day ceremony a few days ago – one of his very first public appearances since the beginning of the lockdown. 

This issue is not – and should not be – political. It is a matter of public health.

That is why leaders in any field must wear a mask in their public appearances – to set a good example to the world.

Let's face it. As in the aftermath of previous crises, our lives have changed radically and probably for a long time.

The mask has become a part of our lives. In the office, in the factory, on the train, on the plane – everywhere. Embraces and handshakes are over, for now.

If we take care with these basics, we will have a more pleasant summer and autumn. And we will go on vacation to Greece and Cyprus. We must remain patient until there is an FDA-approved vaccine. Only then will we be able to truly relax.


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