Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the excessive use and prescription of face shields in the Philippines is just another one of those shrill overreactions propagated on the back of the speculation coming from the lockdown-idled minds of millennial “influencers”?
COVID-19 is unprecedented in its place in human history as a dreaded attack disease — or so we were all made to believe. Albeit an actual virus in the conventional sense, COVID-19 seemingly owes its virulence more to the Internet and, more disturbingly, a small clique of shrill voices within it whose uninformed titas exchange the equivalent of modern old wives’ tales about it. But more circumspect notions about it are just quick Google searches away.
According to a report issued by the United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the truly fearsome diseases of yore “tend to have high attack rates because they can quickly reach and infect many people in a short period of time”. To put this in perspective, the report asserts, “were SARS-CoV-2 spread primarily through airborne transmission like measles, experts would expect to have observed considerably more rapid global spread of infection in early 2020 and higher percentages of prior infection measured by serosurveys.”
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Available data indicate that SARS-CoV-2 has spread more like most other common respiratory viruses, primarily through respiratory droplet transmission within a short range (e.g., less than six feet). There is no evidence of efficient spread (i.e., routine, rapid spread) to people far away or who enter a space hours after an infectious person was there.
One wonders then whether the risk of wearing a mask and face shield outdoors, specially when cycling or even just walking on Manila’s chaotic streets, is worth the dubious safety it supposedly provides against spreading or contracting COVID-19.
Specially in the Philippines’ notoriously oppressive humid climate, face shields pose serious safety hazards when one considers how they tend to fog up from the wearer’s own breath and how quickly these accumulate dust and grime from exposure to Manila’s infamous corrosive atmosphere.
Indeed, speculation is rife that someone is profiting massively from the manufacture and supply of these quaint trinkets. This could go towards explaining the bizarre way even showbiz personalities make use of face shields in popular TV programming in the Philippines. One wouldn’t likely be surprised if a massively-funded campaign to glamourise the use of face shields and make them “trendy” in the eyes of the ignoramus fandom of ABS-CBN “talent” Vice Ganda and his ilk is one day uncovered.
For now, it seems Filipinos are happy to be emotionally-blackmailed by their “thought leaders” into wearing these curious costume accessories. It really just takes a mediocre or dishonest product, the audacity to market it, and a million or so suckers willing to pay good money for it to make a fortune in a society of people too lazy to think for themselves.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.