UPDATE — July 5 2022: New South Wales Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant has called for people to start wearing masks indoors again in preparation for a third COVID wave. Seems pretty fkn sensible TBH.
Australia’s currently facing a third COVID wave thanks to certified nasties Omicron BA.4 and BA.5.
Obviously, one of the really essential ways of protecting yourself from COVID is making sure you’ve had your booster shot.
“The best way you can protect yourself from serious illness or worse is to get every vaccination that is available to you,” Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.
But Kerry Chant also highlighted the importance of wearing masks indoors. She specifically highlighted wearing a face mask in public, indoor spaces where you can’t socially distance in a NSW Health statement.
“Isolate if you’re sick and get tested, wear a mask when indoors and around other people and know if anti-virals are recommended from you,” Chant told reporters on July 5, as per Sky News.
“Please wear a mask in indoor areas around other people outside your home including public transport, pharmacies and shops. Masks, whilst protecting yourself, can also protect other people.”
It’s not the first time health experts have called for people to voluntarily wear masks again. As well as the new COVID strains, Australia’s also experienced a particularly bad flu season this year.
So whip out your nicest masks if you’re heading indoors — not just to protect yourself, but also the people around you.
ORIGINAL — May 17 2022
Experts are calling for people to start voluntarily wearing masks again ‘cos cases of flu and COVID-19 are on the rise. Time to do a bulk wash of your most fashionable masks!
If you’re like me, virtually everyone you know is sick with either COVID-19, the flu, or a nasty fkn cold.
As well as the flu, virtually all the states are still reporting high numbers of COVID-19 cases. It’s essentially a perfect storm for winter illnesses.
The Australian Medical Association’s Victorian branch has called for folks in the state to start wearing masks again. It specifically highlighted supermarkets, concerts, indoor theatres and stadiums according to The Age.
Victorian AMA President Dr Roderick McRae said people should start voluntarily wearing masks in those settings and get their third vaccine dose. C’mon team, get on it.
“The community needs to decide what’s most important – not prejudicing the public hospital system or going to five football matches over five days a week,” McRae said, as per The Age.
He said the state’s public hospital system is “in crisis”, highlighting the rates of ambulance ramping.
Keeping safe from COVID-19 and keeping safe from the flu require pretty similar approaches: making sure you’re fully vaxxed, social distancing where possible and wearing a mask.
NSW’s AMA president Dr Daniella McMulled told Today Australians were more at risk of contracting the flu this year. It’s because our COVID restrictions have eased for the first time since 2020.
“Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic we closed our international borders so there was much less flu coming in,” she said.
“We did all our social distancing, wore masks, all those measures did a fantastic job of stopping the flu. We had none.”
Like McRae, she highlighted the importance of taking certain steps to protect not just yourself, but everyone.
“Wear a mask, wash your hands, keep a distance again, again, again,” she said.
Voluntarily wearing a mask and getting vaccinated helps stop the spread of COVID-19 and flu. That’s especially important for protecting immunocompromised people this winter.
While we might not have COVID restrictions, alas, that doesn’t mean there’s suddenly no COVID (or flu).
Wearing your mask for an hour at the footy or the shops is easy and effective. It’s one of the best steps we can take to keep each other safe.
Plus, it’ll keep your nose warm on these bloody cold winter days. An absolute win win.