It only took decades, but America has finally realized what Japan has known all along: Masks are essential in preventing germ spread.
I don’t remember the exact date I learned about how people in Japan wear masks on their faces when they have a contagious illness, but I vividly remember my awed reaction to it.
It’s an excellent idea and I wish the world outside of East Asia implemented it sooner.
I had been buying them for a while, so I have quite a large stash of masks.
I wore one last spring when I got a mild throat infection I had initially mistaken for strep throat. I did that for my own comfort and for the safety of others around me. Within two weeks, I got better.
Now that it’s law in Los Angeles County for people to wear masks in public, the population can extend that courtesy and stay protected themselves.
Everyone is safer this way.
It’s ironic that a major disease outbreak caused masks to become commonplace among the sick.
According to an article on Quartz media, Japan had that protocol in place since approximately 110 years ago when an influenza epidemic killed tens of thousands. Quartz also confirmed that wearing masks also protected the people of Japan from smoke and ash spewed out by various volcanic eruptions triggered by the 1923 Kanto earthquake.
Of course, since this is being treated as a law, there are downsides.
I agree with anyone complaining about that $1,000 fine for not wearing a mask in public. That is much too hefty of a price to pay.
As much as I’ve wanted it to be protocol in America for people to wear masks when they’re sick, I acknowledge that it’s not without its faults.
I wear glasses myself, so I know the struggle of trying to keep them from getting fogged by my own diverted exhales when wearing a mask. Also, masks are currently in limited supply.
They are as quick to be cleared out of stores as hand sanitizer, toilet paper, paper towels and Kleenex.
But depending on the experiences of a given trip out in public with a mask on, each mask can be used more than once.
If people remember that, lots of masks would still be available for purchase.
Thankfully, the law does say any kind of face covering is acceptable.
Even if masks are unavailable, people are allowed to go out with bandanas or scarves tied over their faces. As long as it covers the face, that’s good enough for L.A. law.
While it is a shame it took a global pandemic to persuade American citizens that face masks are useful to the sick, I’m glad we as a nation came around.
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