As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the latest hot-button topic revolves around wearing masks. Some people don't leave home without one, while others refuse outright to put one on. In some cases, wearing a mask has become a strange political symbol.
A recent national survey of 1,500 Canadian adults conducted by Abacus Data discovered a third of Canadians always wear a mask when they enter a public place, while a quarter of Canadians never do. However, the survey also found there would be little opposition if governments started making masks mandatory – 14 per cent of people surveyed said they would oppose such a decision, 62 per cent said they would support it and another 24 per cent said they would go along with it.
In Airdrie and Rocky View County (RVC), it sometimes feels like the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a big deal. Alberta's relaunch strategy is well underway, public facilities are opening back up and a State of Local Emergency was terminated some time ago. As of July 8, according to Alberta Health Services, the city had only a single active case of the virus.
The communities we cover certainly benefits from having less density than places like New York City – a notable hotspot – or even Calgary, which AHS reported having 200 active cases as of July 8. Locally, the number of cases has kept relatively low. In this regard, we're fortunate. It's important to remember, however, that COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus that can spread rapidly through the population.
We acknowledge wearing a mask can be uncomfortable. As our reporters have attended events, or simply performed everyday tasks like shopping at Costco, we've experienced the irritation of fabric or paper rubbing on our cheeks, our hot breath trapped against our faces or our glasses fogging up.
However, the repeated message from public health officials is that masks are instrumental in limiting the spread of the virus. Until a long-term solution, like a vaccine, is available, we encourage our readers to wear a mask in public – both for their own safety and for the safety of others.