This is not a political blog, however it is directed towards women of a certain age (though younger readers are always welcome!) and we're living in worrying times, where older women can be particularly vulnerable. Last month I visited my family in London, although most of my Covid-19 experiences have been here in Spain, where I retired over 12 years ago. I had to go into quarantine for 14 days when I arrived in the UK, however it was worth it to be able to see my family, and in particular my new granddaughter, for the first time this year. In both countries the majority of people were wearing face masks in shops and on public transport, plus they were socially distancing wherever possible and were being encouraged to wash their hands frequently and/or use hand sanitiser.
The question of whether we should wear face masks or not is a particularly emotive one. I decided from the start that I would wear one, partly because I didn't want to have to pay a 100 euros fine for not doing so (they've been strict here in Spain), but also because I would hate to be the person spreading the virus to other people who might be more vulnerable than me. Yes, that is the important point to remember: my face mask is protecting you as much as, if not more than, it protects me.
It seems as if many younger people don't appreciate that fact, so they don't bother wearing a face mask as they feel confident the coronavirus won't affect them. What if they get the virus? Don't they realise that they might pass it on to their parents or grandparents, who might then die because of them? I think more should be done to make the younger generation aware of that fact, as all the youngsters I know are lovely, caring people who would not want to harm others, particularly older family members.
Another issue is how to wear your face mask! I think I have gone slightly overboard in the above photo in ensuring that my nose and mouth are covered, but it still amazes me how many people I see with noses uncovered or, even worse, with their masks under their chins leaving their mouth and nose totally exposed and able to spread germs. Don't even mention the smokers.....!
I am also very aware that there are people who are unable to wear a face mask for medical reasons. I have questioned people who aren't wearing one, but never in an aggressive manner in case they have a very good reason. As an example, when I was sitting on the tube in London I noticed a young woman sitting almost directly opposite me who wasn't wearing one. I also noticed that she was wearing a "Baby on Board" badge, so mentioned this when questioning her. Her response was that she had actually passed out when she'd been wearing a face mask for a while, which was a very scary experience, though she was lucky that people nearby looked after her, and so she had spoken to her doctor about it. She had been advised to carry a face mask with her but not to wear it in case the same thing happened again, especially as she was pregnant so she had her baby to think about as well. She also told me that a few people had been very nasty and confrontational towards her, which I find just as unacceptable (if not more so) as not wearing a face mask in the first place. So please don't be judgmental if you too decide to question other people.
There are several phrases that I could use to finish this post: "Masks save lives.." Wear a mask. Save a life." "Stay alert. Control the virus. Save lives." However the words that really sum up the message I'm trying to send you all are: "Let's be kind and considerate towards each other. After all, life's too short."