The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Coronavirus pandemic, chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, held a press conference yesterday, April 2. In the televised broadcast aired on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and other television stations, members of the committee took turns to brief Nigerians on the current situation of the viral disease and the measures being taken to stem the tide.
However, one conspicuous detail stood out of the press briefing. At least four of the members of the committee who took to the stage to speak had face masks on.
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Similarly, a day before the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari addressed Nigerians on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on Sunday, the Minister for Health, Osagie Ehanire, and the Director-General of the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Chike Ihekweazu, wore face masks to a meeting with the president in Aso Villa.
Now, if they can wear masks, why not the rest of Nigerians?
Fillers from recent happenings and current findings shows that face masks have the capability to prevent the transmission of the Coronavirus from person to person by a recognizable percentage. For instance, the common surgical masks found in the market are shown to be at least 70% effective in filtering off the virus which causes COVID-19. Whereas, the N95 masks which are most expensive are noted for their ability to filter off up to 95% of dust, microbes and the COVID-19 virus particularly.
One thing is clear from this: some governments around the world are trying to discourage the use of face masks because they want to avoid the scarcity which could ensue from the panic buying of these efficacious masks.
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But as common sense shows, it is evident that if everyone wears masks just as it is done in Asian countries which have stemmed the tide of the spread of the Coronavirus, the rate of transmission will reduce until we would have effectively eradicated the virus worldwide. This is why the stiff resistance shown by health bodies and agencies which should know better remains egregious.
And just yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in America is said to be reviewing its earlier position on masks and now considering recommending masks for use against the Coronavirus. As if on cue, the NCDC which oversees infectious disease control and prevention in the country is also looking to review its earlier stance against masks.
The good news, however, is that, home-made masks made with textile can also be used even if ordinary citizens cannot afford to buy ready-made masks. Face masks can be made at home with several Do-It-Yourself (DIY) techniques which have been tested and trusted.
Whether the WHO or the NCDC expressly announces that we should start using face masks again or not, do yourself and your community a favour by making a mask today and wear it religiously. As responsible citizens, we can also try to leave the other type of ready-made masks (surgical and N95 variants) to healthcare workers who are on the frontline of this war against COVID-19 pandemic.
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