My text messages this morning came from my veterinarian friend, Dr. Wang, who is located in Chengdu, Sichuan Province’s capital city. Over the years, she’s helped me with numerous animal rescues: giving me discounts, mailing me canine or feline medical items I needed in my city, Luzhou (4-hours away by bus away), advising me on animal treatments and even helping me place some of the dire little ones I picked up off the streets.
In fact, it was Dr. Wang who helped me with exams, vaccinations and final export papers needed to bring my Chinese rescue, Bridget (Miss B), to America for adoption by my mom.
Our relationship is a strong one, and one which I greatly treasure.
Her note came after I sent her a picture of my mom. We were walking Bridget, our Chinese rescue, around Marshall. The sun was shining, the flowers were blooming, the air was fresh … Our carefree attitude, and exposed faces, surprised and concerned her.
“You and your mother must wear masks,” Dr. Wang wrote with obvious distress. “Do you have them? If you want masks, please let know. It only needs 15 days for me to ship them to you. I have already sent to my friends in Germany and the UK. And I can send more, to give to your neighbors.”
I love Dr. Wang. She is so sweet.
To wear or not to wear? That is the question
Fortunately for me, I have a small supply of surgical masks which my local doctor gave to me 2 months ago before my return to China. That return didn’t happen when US airlines canceled all flights to that country. Since then, I have held onto my protective gear “just in case.”
And it looks like “just in case” has arrived, not for my jaunts back to China but for my jaunts around Marshall.
After weeks of the experts telling us that wearing masks was not highly recommended, the word is starting to circulate that perhaps they are.
In China, masks during the epidemic were mandatory: masks a must to enter supermarkets, banks, airports, bus stations, taxies and public buses. Masks to walk the streets. Masks to visit those in the hospital. Masks even to be close to elderly relatives or friends.
China’s mandatory requirement to wear masks quickly emptied warehouses around the world to meet the demand. In America, our nation was generously sending masks to China to help with their efforts to halt further infections. Even Chinese relatives living here were doing the same, ordering massive amounts of masks to mail to their loved ones overseas.
U.S. experts report: Masks help
Now we Americans find ourselves short of masks, with front-line healthcare workers in the thick of things desperately begging for more and more protective face gear. The public, however, was not urged to wear these, and so we didn’t.
That looks like it will change.
New findings are discovering that face masks do help to cut down on infections. I read one report out of China which based findings on several individuals who had spread the virus on to others. A single person had entered a long-distance bus without wearing a mask and had infected 13 unmasked people, some of which were 15 feet ahead of him, not the 3-6 feet which has been suggested as a safe-enough distance. It seems the particles expelled remain floating about in the air for up to 30 minutes. On the bus, 2 individuals were wearing masks and they were not infected.
Although the research is still sketchy at best about COVID-19, wearing face masks seems to be of great importance for those of us who are asymptomatic. We might have the virus yet not know we have it as signs aren’t showing. Incubation period seems to be about 5 days, during which time we feel fine. We can protect others by making sure we aren’t spreading it about in public places when we go shopping, mail letters, pick up drive-through food or, in passing, come near others while doing our limited outside activities.
While all are at risk, the elderly are especially so. Having them wear masks just for their own protection is likewise considered a vital measure in curbing contamination.
As for those who are indeed sick and know it, it is highly recommended a mask is best. Even those who are sick and quarantining themselves at home, isolated from family members in other parts of the house, should definitely consider wearing a mask due to the long-lasting surface and air life of the disease.
This is a way of life we are not used to and may be balking to accept but it is absolutely one which is fast becoming a reality.
Back to Dr. Wang and her message to me this morning.
“I have enough masks for me and my mom,” I reassured Dr. Wang. “Please don’t worry.”
“And there is no need to pay,” she graciously added. “It is my pleasure to keep you and your mom safe.”
From Marshall, here’s wishing you 平安 (ping ahn), peace, and safety for your day.