Wearing masks at work already optional?

On November 28, a regulation of the Council of Ministers entered into force, under which the wearing of masks for employees who do not work became mandatory. What’s more – covering the mouth and nose began to apply also in places where it was previously possible to stay with an exposed face, e.g. in the kitchen or other social rooms. This provision met with a fierce response and was eventually withdrawn, leaving employers to cover the mouth and nose. Is it right?

Asian habit

Initially, the WHO did not see a link between wearing face masks and spreading the virus. What’s more, until June 2020, it did not even recommend wearing masks in public places. Only after that time, it was concluded that keeping the distance alone did not sufficiently protect against the epidemic.

Despite the lack of disposition regarding the need to cover the mouth and nose, citizens of many Asian countries began to wear masks en masse immediately after the outbreak of the pandemic. It is worth noting that in many countries, for example in Taiwan, the authorities have not been forced to implement orders and restrictions. Citizens put on their own masks, because it was natural for them in such a situation. Of course, it was not without significance that in the recent past they were dealing with the SARS epidemic and the mentality. Asians have a deep sense of responsibility for themselves and others. In addition, they treat health issues as a priority, because treatment in their country is expensive and having health insurance is relatively rare.

Mask at work – pluses

As you know, the coronavirus infection can be asymptomatic and unconsciously infect other people whose course of the disease may be radically worse. A situation in which everyone is treated as potentially ill and wears a mask greatly reduces the risk of getting sick.

It is worth noting that wearing a mask does not completely protect against viruses, but it affects the initial dose of the virus that can be obtained during infection, which has a huge impact on the course of the disease. The inoculum is any part of the pathogen – in this case, the virus that can cause the disease. The amount of inoculum is usually closely related to the severity of the disease, although the infectious potential of the inoculum may vary depending on e.g. environmental conditions and resistance. Simply put – the less virus we ingest (which additionally begins to replicate after a few hours!), The greater the chance of our immune system to fight the infection or its mild course.

With all these facts in mind, wearing face masks at work, where you average 8 hours a day, makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, it is associated with some inconvenience for the employees themselves, but ultimately in a pandemic situation it is worth giving up your comfort for a while for the benefit of general safety.