With Spain residents now being barred from 111 counties and 24 other countries including the UK imposing 14 days quarantine for any Spanish residents to their shores. It seems 2020’s “this is my year” hopeful is looking more like George Orwell’s year of 1984 and the worst year economically since the Great Depression. Covid-19 “is easily the most severe” global health emergency the World Health Organization (WHO) has ever declared, the agency has said. WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, commented that we have a long road ahead of us. Spain not on lockdown, but lockedout it seems. 

On Friday 17th, ‘Salut’ (Ministry of Health in Catalunya) along with the mayor of Barcelona decided that “un pequeño paso por atras” was needed,  i.e. a little step back due to new outbreaks of the virus around the city   

Phase “a little-step back” reduced social gatherings to 10. Bars and restaurants to 50% capacity. Exercising between 6-10 am and 18-23h. Leaving your house if only absolutely necessary. Although the conditions were in the end only recommendations, cinemas have been closed again and beaches policed to prevent overcrowding. With this announcement, the dread of yet another lockdown looms upon us. 

Bus stop poster in Barcelona

Bus stop poster in Barcelona

Two weeks ago, mask-wearing became obligatory in Catalonia with fines of €100 for non-wearers. Walking around Barcelona, I see a couple of elderly men, obviously friends for a long time, sitting 2 meters away from each other conversing, or elderly couples, sitting on a bench, saying or doing nothing except holding hands, and shading themselves from the 30oC summer heat. They are all wearing face coverings of some type or other. On the wide ‘Ronda Sant Antoni’, a once busy avenue with traffic is now enjoyed by pedestrians and every evening, the Rhonda is full of children playing football or zooming around on their ‘patinetes’, and 95% of them are wearing masks. People working in retail, or bars and restaurants are having to wear them for 5 or 6 hours a day. Street cleaners, the Police, office workers, and construction workers all obliged to wear face-covering regardless of the heat from the scorching Spanish sun. On the beach this morning at 8 am, a man arrives, undresses to his shorts, and then starts a stretching routine all while donning a mask. Later we would see him alongside us, swimming while wearing his mask in the water. 

One big joke?

One big joke?

There does seem to be strong evidence that mask-wearing is effective in preventing the spread of Covid-19. But as new light is being shed more so on the cons of all the protective measures that have been taken i.e. lockdowns and social distancing, there are now reports emerging about the damage that face-coverings could be doing to our health and that they may even be helping to spread the virus. Robert Verak PhD, Alliance for Natural Health International founder, executive and scientific director is very much against having to cover your face in public. Here, he gives 13 reasons why we shouldn’t wear masks: 

  1. Resistance to airflow and reduced air exchange. 
  2. Decreases our blood oxygen saturation level. Which can be a problem if you’re older or have lung disease. 
  3. Increased heart rate 
  4. Increased core temperature increases and could make people feel uncomfortable and reduce good decision making. 
  5. Increased headache frequency & severity. People have to wear masks several hours per day. 
  6. Insufficient evidence for usefulness for the general public. 
  7. Balance of evidence usefulness in Healthcare locations. 
  8. A huge variation of benefits and benefits depending on the type of mask worn. 
  9. May increase the risk of virus spread in community settings. 
  10. May increase disease risk for wearers. 
  11. Good sanitation and hygiene practices are essential. 
  12. No adequate scientific evidence for compulsory mask wearing for the public especially in community spaces or on public transport. 
  13.  COVID related waste – 29 million masks and 65million gloves entering our environment every month! 

We’ve all seen many posts and articles about how face coverings can reduce the spread of Covid-19, but as Mr.Verak comments, have we seen any research done on the possible threat to our bodily functions or result of covering our mouth and nose for several hours per day? Outcomes that maybe won’t be seen until far in the future. What about the effect on children or the elderly or the already sick and those at risk? The very thing that we’ve been told to wear to protect us from covid-19 may well be killing us. There are other things to consider when wearing a mask, one being that they are interfering with fundamental methods of communication, one of which is just simply reading other people’s faces. What about the hearing impaired? How are they coping? 

SwedishCovid-19 Chief Anders Tegnell has not made the use of masks mandatory in Sweden, saying that there is not enough evidence to support the wearing of. According to Melanie Aldridge, Alliance for Natural Health International Executive co-ordinator, functional medicine, and Clinical PNI practitioner says that putting an obstruction over your nose and mouth, starts to interfere with a process that has involved over millennia and it could have knock-on effects throughout our entire system. And According to BBC Newsnight 14/7/20. The World Health Organisation committee that reviewed the evidence for the use of face -overings in public, didn’t highlight the use,  but after political lobbying the WHO now recommends them.  

Our Governments are telling us to close our businesses. They’re telling us to social distance and avoid all physical contact. Now, we’re being told to don a mask which according to Dr. Robert Verak, could be doing us more damage than good. And if he’s correct, what is the alternative? It’s all well and good telling us not to wear them, so what are we to do? Stay at home? Or walk around and get a fine from the police?

If masks are to become part of the new norm and something to add to our attire as we walk out the door, i.e. phone, keys, wallet, mask, shouldn’t more research be done related to the possible dangers to masks to advocate the wearing of such? 

So, to mask or not. What are your feelings? 

p.s. Just one more thing;  in his video, Dr. Verak’s final point is the waste that is being caused by Covid-19. With a life span of 450 years, 29million masks and 65 million gloves are entering the environment every month. In response to this outcry, Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) is turning ocean waste into face masks. They have partnered up with Rash’R, the eco-friendly activewear brand. So plastic bottles that have once polluted the ocean are now helping reduce the spread of COVID-19. The masks come in five different designs based on different sea life like sharks, whales, and manta rays. They’re also reusable and come with 5 filters. A great cause. You can purchase the masks here.

On a lighter note and in case you run out…

In case we run out