Wearing a mask in the shops and the public transportation is “strongly recommended”.
June 16, 2020
Updated 17 June 2020 at 4h19
How do I mask a social norm?
Wearing a mask in the shops and the public transport was nice to be “highly recommended”, this measure is moderately, if followed by the population, according to the regions. Why, and what would it take for that wearing a mask in community becomes a social norm, such as the hope to Dr. Horacio Arruda? The Sun has posed the question to the medical anthropologist Eve Dubé.
“It is a complex issue. Different factors that may motivate changes to adopt a new behavior such as the wearing of the mask, including the fear of the disease – fears relative to the COVID seem to be decreasing at this time with the re-opening and the déconfinement – and the perception that the new behavior will be useful to protect us, or protect the people that we love”, then it is especially recommended for protecting the other of us, ” says Mrs. Dubé, a researcher at the Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Université Laval (axis of infectious and immune diseases) and the national Institute of public health of Quebec.
Eve Dubé emphasized that it is currently in a period “where one feels a relaxation with the re-opening, people are happy, they may be less afraid and may be less motivated to wear the mask.”
According to her, it is also possible that the messages in the beginning of the pandemic where it is recommended not to wear the mask “could lead to confusion in the population about the usefulness and the benefits of wearing the mask”.
“Especially as up to now, the mask is associated with the disease,” exposes the medical anthropologist, recalling that in Québec, one wears a mask in the clinic or to the hospital when it is symptomatic, “when it is in health in the metro”. “To change these perceptions-there, it doesn’t happen overnight,” she said.
In order for the mask to become a standard, as it is in many asian countries, it is necessary that there is a social pressure, “a bit like tobacco where people are much less tolerant of smokers should be away so that there was not so long ago, smoking was allowed without a problem on the terraces” illustrates the researcher.
“But for there to be pressure, it is necessary that a majority of wears the mask, then those who do not wear it feel less comfortable. If it is only to wear the mask, all eyes will turn to us, and the reverse is true,” she noted.
The other determinant : the mask must be easy to access. “In some European countries [Austria and Poland, especially), they have installed dispensers of masks at strategic locations and it seems to have worked well”, says Ève Dubé.
“Otherwise, you can bet on the promotion of the standard, for communication campaigns, the use of well-known personalities who wear the mask to give the example, and the behaviors will follow, [as] we have seen for a bicycle helmet, but it is longer” before you have any results, still mentions Ms. Dubé.
“For there to be pressure, it is necessary that a majority of wears the mask, then those who do not wear it feel less comfortable. If it is only to wear the mask, all eyes will turn to us, and the reverse is true ”
The medical anthropologist Eve Dubé
Make the mask mandatory and impose penalties in case of non-compliance would of course be “a powerful lever” and would make changes much more quickly in the behaviors, should be the specialist, citing the example of the prohibition of smoking in public places. “It is sure that when it is said that it is mandatory, that changes the perception,” she said.
However, “it leads to other ethical issues, and legal”, in particular with regard to monitoring and the possible consequences if the behavior is not adopted, ” says dr. Dubé.
“If it is said that it is mandatory in the stores, but that they are the owners of the shops which are obliged to enforce the law, it puts them in a difficult position,” illustrates the researcher, who also wondered if it is ready to “put police on the hunt for people who do not have a mask.” “And then there are all the issues of equity, access masks for the groups most vulnerable”, she adds.
“For the moment, there are no strategies shown to be effective in the scientific literature [for the mask to become a social norm]. It is thus necessary to rely on examples with other behaviors,” says Ève Dubé.
Last week, doctors have asked Quebec to make compulsory the wearing of the cover-face for more than 12 years in closed environment and the outside spaces where the detachment physics is difficult to meet.
Covering the face is a very little costly and whose effectiveness has been demonstrated to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 and avoid a second wave potentially lethal to the population and the health care community, they pleaded.
The national director of public health said during the press briefing on Thursday that he did not exclude the possibility of making compulsory the wearing of the covers-face (in public transport, in particular, as Toronto has decided to do so), but that it preferred to await the conclusions of the experts here and elsewhere, “who watch for and against”.
The prime minister François Legault, for his part, stressed that “making it mandatory, it assumes penalties”. “It means having a police force that will check all of that. Therefore, we made the choice to say : it strongly suggests, but does not make it mandatory. It is the choice that is offered by public health, and that I support”, he said on Thursday.
In an interview this evening with the journalist Patrice Roy of Radio-Canada, the president of the Association of medical microbiologists, infectious disease physicians of Quebec, Dr. Karl Weiss, has condemned the decision of authorities not to make the mask mandatory.
“It is the only measure that has been demonstrated as particularly effective against a virus is transmitted primarily through the respiratory tract”, he pleaded, noting that 126 countries had introduced the mask in a way mandatory, and that “the majority of these countries have mastered, even a very well controlled the epidemic, which is far from being the case in Quebec.”
“There’s a fire in the house and one still wonders whether he should call the fire department. If we want to continue a déconfinement adequate, it will be necessary to wear a mask,” said Dr. Weiss, who does not claim a “port police officer the mask”. The police might even distribute masks rather than fines, he suggested.