MAASIN CITY — The world will never be the same again with the covid-19 pandemic that we are in, where everyone, everywhere, is wearing a facemask, among other must-do’s in this unseen kind of warfare. “Love your facemasks, bring it with you anywhere you go, and wear it — nowadays it is the link to life,” Dr. Francilisa Tan, city health officer, declared, her statement can be taken to mean either an appeal or a self-imposed order she wanted others to copy.
Wearing facemasks properly by covering the mouth and nose is becoming part of the new normal, the current OOTD, or outfit of the day, Tan said during the media briefing Tuesday at the provincial social welfare office.
The abbreviation OOTD (outfit of the day) is millennial-speak, obviously lifted from the social media lingo. Tan’s advocacy on the continued wearing of facemask as a protective headgear against the dreaded coronavirus disease came about when she was asked, rather in theory, what would be her unsolicited advice after April 30, whether to push or stop the community quarantine.
“I am for extending the quarantine, even if it is to be modified,” the doctor replied without batting an eyelash, saying that the health system as it is cannot carry a lingering public health problem like the one the world now is facing.
And in an atmosphere of a modified quarantine — or lifting of quarantine, if ever — her call on the use of facemask will become part of her daily lifestyle.
“If I go to Tacloban, Manila, or be in crowded places I will be wearing the facemask, I will bring three masks wherever I go,” Tan said, adding that she would like to see other people doing the same thing, too.
In fact, she was not alone in preaching the facial fashion covering because a national executive order mandated its very use.
Then, closer to home, the provincial and city governments made sure everybody is following this facemask thing, under pain of being arrested and held for twelve hours at the Tagnipa gym the moment cops get their eyes on those not obeying the rule.
Policemen have observed that people are not putting the facemask the way it should be put, as a covering for the nose and mouth — many just slip it below their chin chained by the two ears or, worse, left dangling in one of the ears much like a long earpiece.
Upon seeing an approaching police officer, or a patrol car, only then will the folks scramble to wear facemasks properly, a police officer was overheard as saying, an indication that most people are doing it anyway for compliance, or to avoid being caught.
But more than just following what the police wants followed, people should remain calm, no need to panic, said Lourdes Aguilar, city health nurse, who was also a guest at the media briefing.
Meanwhile, barangay-based nurses will monitor and manage those in home isolation, as everyone has become “suspects” under the new classification of the Department of Health (DOH), Aguilar stressed, suggesting, again, the need for facemasks as anyone can be a carrier unknowingly infecting others, or easily prone to being infected himself/herself.
Likewise, Tan added that everybody should establish a strong immune system, exercise even while in home quarantine, keep proper hygiene, drink lots of water, and pray.
As to the facemask, this should only be taken off when eating and sleeping, Tan pointed out.
But like a soldier’s weapon in this weird kind of a battle against an invisible enemy, facemasks should be within reach, handily tucked by one’s side ready for combat action anytime, a buddy that one cannot live without. Taken in that context, a facemask, indeed, is life.
Source: Marcelo M. Pedalino, Philippine Information Agency, April 25, 2020