by Dr Neals J Chitan
Despite my avid support for the Covid-19 protocols here in Grenada, I must confess that as someone who is mildly claustrophobic, I hate covering my face.
Because of this, I have narrowly missed being pronounced a lawbreaker several times as I try as hard as I can to cooperate with the mask-wearing protocols for the greater good of the nation.
However, this level of personal discomfort has never abated for me and I kept eagerly anticipating the day when we can remove these facial barriers creating a weird unrecognisable common look among us, for our personal uniquely admirable faces that we were known for. Imagine the disconnect felt between friends who must take a second and third look before recognising what used to be such familiar faces, now hidden behind face masks.
Although lockdowns, quarantine and curfews have all held us hostage, in my estimation and probably bias opinion, face masks have held us victims even more. Imagine the unnatural movement of pulling a mask in place just to push your head into an office door to ask, “Where do I park?” or in a store to say, “Do you have eggs?” Or even worse, to be reprimanded with “You can’t come in without a mask Sir.” And of course, my very frequent under-my-breath response “I hate that darn thing,” as I fit it around my nose and mouth.
As the conversation continues, despite the need to reduce person-to-person transmission of Covid-19 virus through mask-wearing, we hear so-called undisputed discussions like, the high levels of carbon dioxide that is exhaled into your mask and re-inhaled into the lungs again, with health officials and mask manufacturers doubting the truth of this issue in their quest for mask-wearing compliance and more production.
So, in our eager anticipation to ease off the stiff mask-wearing regulation, we look with hope to other regions experiencing an onslaught of Covid-19 infections to see how they are reasonably dealing with or adjusting their protocols. On 13 May 2021, the USA Centres for Disease Control (CDC) in their face covering guidelines announced new regulations which give fully vaccinated individuals the right to “resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing.” According to US News on 1 June 2021, Contributor Kaia Hubbard listed 34 states and territories that are now without mask mandates, and why not?
If the Covid-19 vaccines protect individuals from being seriously infected, hospitalised or from dying from the virus, and furthermore destroy it, then taking the vaccines can seriously increase the chances of life returning to normal!! So, “Take the jab and finish the task of wearing the mask!!”
This I think is a great promotional line for countries like Grenada where people are hesitant to get vaccinated, but also are breaching the mask protocol. Yep, after giving it some worthwhile thought, I believe that like in the CDC’s face-covering guidelines of 13 May 2021, if Grenada legislates that individuals who can produce proof of full vaccination will be exempted from wearing a face mask, it will spur on people who hate the mask, like me, to join the vaccine line.
Today (1 June) I went to Kirani James Stadium to have my Covid-19 Vaccination Card laminated and while waiting, I decided to share my thoughts on this issue with Antonia Bubb, one of the vaccine staff there. She was absolutely impressed and also believe that such legislation can drive the vaccination campaign in Grenada and other regions, thus quickly realising the numbers required for herd immunity and life returning to normal without that pesky face mask and other regulations.
Dr Neals Chitan is an International Social Skill Consultant and Crime Reduction Specialist who holds a PhD in Social and Behavioural Sciences and currently works in Grenada. He is the President/Founder of Motiv-8 For Change International a Toronto-based Social Skill Agency and can be reached from North America at 647-692-6330 and locally 473-416-8377 or at [email protected]