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Concerns about Mask Mandate when comes to vulnerable people

Concerns about Mask Mandate when comes to vulnerable people

Opinion By Ashlee Burton

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  ~~~~ July 19, 2020 (LSN)  A letter respectfully out of concern, not to be nullified and not to discredit. Take it as you will. I (with Giant Hearts), work with vulnerable people. I am concerned about this mask mandate when it comes to them, and for a few reasons. I am writing out of concern in hopes of clarification.

If masks aren't properly sanitized, changed after a sneeze, cough or touching it with unsanitized hands, the mask becomes a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria, so keeping it on can do a lot of harm. Not everyone has daily schedules and routines or is capable of keeping up on without some help. I feel it's unrealistic to expect this. There aren't enough PSW's and outreach workers/volunteers to ensure all vulnerable folks that need to, can be assisted with this day in and day out.

Breathing in an after a sneeze or cough can infect a person. It can worsen the illness if the person does have the virus or reinfect them.
It can also cause other infections and viruses bc its proven wearing a mask makes you touch your face even more, which contaminates the mask making it in effective. Not everyone is going to be capable of that sort of self care. At the start of the pandemic, I was told not to give our cloth masks to our vulnerable people bc they "would do more harm than good to a population like that". It's actually that statement that has me most concerned and confused, now.

Alcoholics or users of substances have slower breathing, opioids, alcohol, prescribed medications for anxiety... they all slow your heart rate in turn, slowing breathing. So it would be a struggle and harder on them because of the extra effort it would take to take proper breaths. So, then there's the risk of passing out or worse.

Our homeless and vulnerable population dont have access to ways to ensure this is followed perfectly, and if its not, it is more harmful than good. Shelters have plans in place but people don't spend their entire days there. So I am worried about these peeps. I also feel they'll be given the hardest time for not wearing one in public places.

I have a friend who works with vulnerable people. She's noticed red rashes, swelling in the face, face markings, bloody rashes and rashes that are seaping, that indicate skin infections such a yeast.
Some have purple lines around where their masks sit on their face because they're not being worn properly. This should speak volumes to the people mandating these bc pre mandate we are already seeing these effects, that mandating for all might actually not do more good than harm.

There is also our Indigenous community who have expressed their fear that racial profiling will worsen if they wear masks or folded bandanas. They dont feel safe, so should it be manditory anyway? What's the number one place people of colour get racily profiled? Stores and businesses.

All of this being said, I will clarify before I get attacked and vilified:

Our charity has masks for volunteers and surgical masks aswell. We arent looking to break rules. When it is the same few people, well that is our social circle, so we aren't required to wear them. Some do, some don't.
During events with more volunteers than our social circle, masks will be used.

-I am not against people wearing masks. Im not against the mandate, but I do believe it needs some tweaking for the reasons I've written above.

-I didn't want to make this post bc of backlash. I don't care tbh, bc everyone is important to me and addressing this seems crucial to do. The mandate starts on July 24th. We are running out of time to have the mandate re-evaluated before its concrete.

-I've been told I'm being inhumane by asking questions. I disagree. I believe a true humanitarian will ask questions to ensure all humans involved in something new will be safe and respected.

[ hyoo-man-i-tair-ee-uh n ]
➡️ A humanitarian is someone who actively engages in promoting human welfare and social reforms, and who has no prejudice with human suffering on grounds of gender, sexual orientation, religious or national divisions. A humanitarian's goal is to save lives, relieve suffering, and maintain human dignity.

Regarding the enforcing of the mandate:

It's on business owners to deal with people who don't wear want to wear them, and I don't think that's entirely fair. That's setting them up for the potential of multiple lawsuits. They've suffered immensely though this pandemic and I don't think its right to expect that of only them. I have friends headed into bankruptcy or close to it. One lawsuit could be the last straw in their doors closing for good. Whether it be the lawsuit is successful, or from online backlash, conflicts or boycotting of their business.

When deciding if a safety measure is worth introducing at scale, it’s important to balance any benefits against potential harms.

Thank you for your time.
On behalf of the team at Giant Hearts,
Ashlee Burton
Photo credit Oakland North



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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Lake Superior News / Lake Superior Media.





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