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Our best defense until a vaccine is found

The face mask has become the universal symbol of the fight against the coronavirus COVID-19 by people and governments around the world.

The face mask, along with social distancing and constant washing of hands, is now known to be one’s best protection against the virus, which is known to travel in the air from the sneeze, cough, or just the exhaled breath of an infected person. In the absence of a vaccine, prevention of infection is today the best protection against the virus and the face mask provides that protection.

Most cities and towns in the Philippines have now enacted local ordinances requiring the wearing of face masks and maintaining physical distancing of one to two meters from another person, with local police forces enforcing the ordinances. The national borders are guarded from incoming infections by the military and the Coast Guard.

Last Sunday, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield recommended that active enforcement of the use of face masks and local distancing should now be carried out, not just by the police and the military, but also by barangay tanods and members of local government units’ Public Order and Safety.

Despite the best efforts of the police, there have been violations of the requirements on face masks and distancing in local, usually isolated communities. Barangay tanods will now provide the needed

manpower in this effort.

. The face mask was also the center of news reports coming from the United States Sunday, as President Donald Trump, who had long resisted wearing one, finally yielded to pressure from his own health advisers , and wore a black one with the presidential seal in a visit to wounded military veterans at Walter Reed Hospital in a Washington suburb.

President Trump had long resisted appeals for for him to wear a face mask, thus encouraging many of his people to follow his example. In the ongoing reopening of American states, many Americans took to the beaches, the malls, and the streets, many without face masks, and coronavirus infections soared. President Trump setting a personal example of face mask wearing should help the country stop the viral infections.

Ultimately, the hope is that vaccines and cures will be discovered for COVID-19. Until that time, which may be months away, the basic prevention techniques of face mask wearing, social distancing, and frequent hand washing are our best ways to fight COVID-19.

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