A PROMINENT virologist said in a Facebook post today (De. 16) that a lot of people are now asking how long we would have to continue wearing face masks and he hopes that from February 2023 onwards the necessity to do so would decrease, Naewna newspaper said.
Dr. Yong Poovorawan, head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, said he anticipates that by then most people would have built up immunity from vaccination or infection with this reducing Covid-19 infection in the country.
This then would likewise reduce the necessity of wearing face masks with people thenceforth only having to do so when they are amidst large groups of people such as travelling on buses, trains and airplanes. But of course those who develop symptoms of a respiratory disease would have to be masked.
Even right now when people are in the open air such as at the beach or in a park they need not wear one, he said.
Dr. Yong mentioned some interesting findings about wearing face masks with one study revealing that people tend to handle their face masks many times each hour but if they do so without washing their hands it greatly diminishes the defensive efficiency.
Meanwhile the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal also noted the difference in masked and unmasked competitors in a chess match with those wearing it having an cognitive effect in the early stages of the competition.
However if they wear it for a long period they are able to adjust to it. Yet doing so could have an effect on high-level cognition but in normal circumstances there is probably no difference.
Face masks do affect young children especially those still at the kindergarten because at that age they are developing both verbal and non-verbal skills such as lip-reading. At this age children often do not wear face masks properly and as doing so affects their education, it is hoped when the severity of the disease is reduced it would also decrease the necessity for them to do so, and they would then be able to learn better from their teachers.
Another important point is the disposal of surgical mask waste because a large number of them have been made of synthetic material which would increase microplastics in the environment.
Top: A woman smiles after removing her face mask. Photo: Shrm.org,
Insert: Dr Yong Poovorawan. Photo: INN News
Front Page: Close-up of a painting of a superhero wearing a protective face mask. Photo: Ivan Radic (CC BY 2.0)