Queensland’s recent snap restrictions highlighted one very uncomfortable fact
Queensland’s recent snap restrictions highlighted one very uncomfortable fact

My new found sympathy for Victorians after donning mask

OPINION

FOR MANY of us north of the border, last weekend's snap lockdown would have been the first time we have had to don the dreaded COVID mask for any extended period of time, if at all.

I have to say, after barely three days of loyal adherence to the mask rule, I have gained a new found sense of sympathy for our Victorian counterparts, or anyone else on this pandemic ravaged planet who has had to mask up for the greater good.

Before we get started, I should clarify that I do not deny the existence of the virus, nor am I one of those people you'll see on the news from time to time arguing with police that I shouldn't have to wear a mask because: "Yous can't infringe on me freedoms!"

I am a person who by and large tries to do the right thing, even if it does make me feel a bit off, which is where masks come into the equation.

One of the first activities I do nearly every day, aside from getting myself dressed, is attach my two hounds to a lead and allow them to mercilessly drag me a few kilometres around my neighbourhood while they periodically stop to roll around in various animal droppings and chase wood ducks.

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath is seen during a press conference to provide a COVID-19 update. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josh Woning
Health Minister Yvette D'Ath is seen during a press conference to provide a COVID-19 update. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Josh Woning

As torturous as I make it sound, I usually find this to be quite a pleasant way to start a day.

Last weekend I had to do it with a mask on for the first time, and I learned a painful lesson about my morning breath.

By necessity, my breathing technique had to change - from in through the nose and out through the mouth, to in through the nose and out through the nose.

Every hundred metres or so, with nobody around of course, I found myself pulling the mask away from my face to let the hot air out.

Nothing is sweeter than the smell of cool, fresh air after you've had a mask on for a while, especially before you've brushed your teeth for the morning.

Thank goodness we don't have to wear masks any longer on the usual morning walk - at least for the time being.

I was also thankful to hear that the government advice on wearing masks at the gym had been clarified.

After originally being told we would have to wear a mask while exercising at the gym, it emerged on Tuesday morning that this advice actually went against the information provided by the World Health Organisation and by Queensland Health to gym owners and operators.

 

A World Health Organisation Twitter post explaining why people taking part in strenuous exercise should not have to wear a mask.
A World Health Organisation Twitter post explaining why people taking part in strenuous exercise should not have to wear a mask.

There's no doubt gyms pose a risk if someone with coronavirus rocks up and starts puffing and panting over every Tom, Dick and Harry, so this is one where the authorities need to make a simple open or shut decision, and the gym operators need to stick to strict social distancing measures.

According to the World Health Organisation, you simply cannot wear a mask while you are taking part in strenuous exercise.

Not only are you going to struggle to breathe, but you also increase the chances of microorganisms growing on your face. That seems to be the ugly truth I'm afraid.

What I have observed over the past nine months or so is that, as inconvenient and occasionally painful as these restrictions have been on us, the vast majority of people are thinking about each other instead of about themselves when it comes to accepting the government's advice.

There are some who will jump up and down over the restrictions, but still do the right thing when it comes down to the crunch.

Of course, there is a small percentage who believe they are a law unto themselves and they are usually dealt with in the appropriate manner.

While Queensland's case numbers remain relatively low, it is hard to argue that we have not taken the right course of action thus far.

Whether or not we have been overly cautious in our approach will be long-debated, however, I would not like to test the water too much, after seeing what has happened in Europe and the US.

Here is to hoping that, as of January 22, Queensland can get back to business.


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