If you have to shout to prove your point, you’re probably wrong.
I am seriously considering getting a body cam. It seems that I am fair game if I am out and about while wearing a face mask. I had a middle-aged man come up to me yesterday, get about three feet from my face and yell FREEDOM, FREEDOM, FREEDOM before just walking off.
I’m not quite sure how my wearing a mask impacts his freedom. But his failure to wear one certainly impacts mine.
I also had a couple come up to me in a supermarket on Sunday to ask why I was wearing a mask when ‘Covid is over’.
My uninformed friends, sorry, but COVID is not over. In fact, currently Australia is leading the world in per-capita COVID infections, and we are averaging around 40 deaths a day from COVID. That’s the equivalent of a BOEING 737 crash every 3 days.
Masks have been proven to be effective for slowing the spread of active infection. As an immunocompromised person, I am keeping my mask on, thank you.
What does your choice NOT to wear a mask mean for the people who are at risk in our community?
Currently I have one disabled friend ill at home with COVID after her carer didn’t wear a mask or follow proper infection minimisation protocols while in my friend’s home, although she had been asked to. My friend is still young, but because of poor health she relies on carers for almost everything, and she cannot control their behaviour, so she is at risk every time someone comes to her home. We worry about her, because she has multiple chemical sensitivity, among many other things, so going to hospital is fraught with risk because she may suffer life-threatening seizures and anaphylaxis. She actually rang us to say goodbye, in case she died, and she organised a phone tree of people to help support and advocate for her if she falls deathly ill. Every day she has put herself at risk, because she has no choice but to accept this care on these terms, and it is almost impossible to find carers who put her rights equal with their own. Where’s the freedom there?
One of my friends who is in a wheelchair with post-cancer complications and chronic fatigue, and who is also reliant on carers, is now in hospital, intubated and fighting for his life, after becoming infected from a disability worker who also wouldn’t wear a mask.
Another of our friends, who was in a wheelchair, and suffered from Multiple Sclerosis, passed away earlier this month from COVID caught from a carer who came to her home while symptomatic, but who hadn’t yet done a RAT test and thought it was ‘probably just a sniffle’. She leaves behind a husband and young children.
Right now, my business is also being inundated with people who now have long COVID, and are extremely ill, fatigued, struggling with cognitive issues, and are still incapacitated months after their original infection. This includes people who did not believe in COVID as a threat to their health, did not get vaccinated, and did not take precautionary measures to avoid infection, as well as vaccinated people. Some of these people have had COVID multiple times, where it started out mild and got worse each time. Some of them only ever had a mild infection, but now they can’t get out of bed or do the simplest of daily tasks for themselves. Most of them were healthy, young and strong before this happened. Now they can’t work out how to get better, and it doesn’t seem that anyone can really help them.
I already suffer from my own form of illness that is similar to long COVID, and which has destroyed or limited so many of my opportunities and experiences right through my adult life. 35 years and counting. COVID would not be kind to me. So, I’ll keep wearing a mask. I’ll keep advocating for my right to wear a mask. I will keep bringing this to your attention, because the most vulnerable among us do not have freedom, or an effective voice, and I am determined to stand for them, and for myself.
I wrote a post, way back at the beginning of the pandemic, What Do Russian Roulette And COVID Have In Common? about the legacy of COVID and its potential to hit you with a MORBIDITY BULLET. Please, don’t be the person who inflicts that bullet on someone else. Please, don’t be that person who takes the hit themselves. Please, no matter what your personal choice, respect the right of individuals who choose to limit their risk of infection through staying home, avoiding crowded places, wearing a mask, asking you to wear a mask in their presence, practicing social distancing and hand sanitising.
Love, and an abiding concern for your welfare, and the welfare of my friends in the chronic illness, terminal illness and disability communities, Nicole xx