Contributed by Glen Davis
Considering the far-reaching impact of the Covid 19 crisis it doesn’t hurt to wind our minds back to the last time we encountered a pandemic of this nature.
The Spanish Flu pandemic arrived in Australia after the end of World War 1. It’s estimated over 13,000 Australians died in this crisis. These were part of an estimated 50 million people who died globally, as around a third of the world’s population was infected.
A series of governmental errors allowed the disease to rapidly take hold in Australia, with disastrous consequences. There were various attempts to restrict/control the spread of this. Some were more successful than others. One tried, though not always proven method, was the wearing of masks.
As a public health measure their benefit brought divided responses. There were those supportive of masks as a way of reducing the spread of the disease. Others, however, saw them as providing little more than a futile breeding ground for infection.
Even among proponents of using masks there were at times, disputes over the various designs. The type of mask deemed most suitable often became a cause for debate, about what mask(s) were most appropriate for various settings.
For one aspect there appears to be have been consensus; to move beyond a basic cloth/hanky over the face. Generally, masks proved popular with many people wearing them, as they considered them a form of protection.
As always, in times of crisis there were those enterprising types able to find a way
to make money from peoples’ suffering. Many masks were produced using gauze and muslin. The Commonwealth Government eventually declared gauze and muslin as necessary commodities.
In mid-March, during the Covid 19 crisis, the Victorian Chief Health Officer warned of the limitations of relying on masks as a safeguard. They play a role if you’re unwell and you need to be out and about.
But if you’re well, they’re not a great use of a resource in high demand. Masks for frontline health workers are vital, for the rest of the community.
That is a specious argument to say masks are only good for health workers. It is NONSENSE because, if that were so health workers would not be wearing them.
At the basic level it has now been proven overseas that even cloth masks of a few layers ARE EFFECTIVE. Effective in that the main thing is they stop/reduce asymptomatic people from spreading the disease by larger droplet infecting others. Masks even home made ones, have proven to reduce infection rates overseas.
In Australia, they are giving deliberate bullshit on masks because there are far too few masks in this country for frontline medical staff, including all cleaners and other support staff. THIS SHORTAGE IS THE REAL REASON THEY ARE SAYING WHAT THEY DO ABOUT MASKS. If this shortage did not exist we would see wearing a mask outside being made mandatory.
Cloth maske, although partial in effect as may be the case, they are better than nothing, have proven their worth overseas. Cloth masks are also easily sterilised in the home by boiling so several home made masks per person is the method to use.
I wear a proper professional mask when out, sterilise it when coming home. So far I’m not dead. Wearing NO MASK here in ‘Drugo Central’, North Richmond, Melbourne is very unwise. You should see the police protection masks gloves & other gear they wear when arresting someone from that drug scene. Those with no mask stand well back.
(The writer has had many years in the scientific & medical field in supportive type role.)