The twilight of the mask: from a great savior to a garment that accumulates dust


During these two years of compulsory use, the Spaniards had behaved in a obedient: They used the mask whenever they had to, following a logical pattern. Or at least that’s what they said. 99.4% of the population used it regularly around this same time in 2021, with 9.9% wearing it more than 10 hours a day, according to what was then published by the Center for Sociological Research (CIS). But now, when its use depends on the discretion of each he lays hands on her with inconsistency and anarchy. The same person can put it on in the elevator in the morning and forget about it in the afternoon. sometimes they pass whole days without coming into contact with our face.

Or not. There is someone who keep carrying at all times, right out of the house, indoors and outdoors. Saturday, May 14, Canet d’en Berenguer beach (València), half past nine in the morning. Hardly anyone has arrived here yet, but a old man walks alone through the seashore with a well-fitting mask. He is not particularly amused when asked about the reasons that lead him to continue covering his mouth even outdoors. I wear it because I’m feeling more secure with her, because this is not over, no matter how much they say, and because I feel like it. If I don’t take it, I feel that I’m missing something. I do no harm to anyone & rdquor ;, he says.

Part of what this man explains has a name, empty face syndrome, and he may suffer from it, although the fundamental reason why he keeps the mask, he himself points out, is his increased vulnerability against the virus due to his advanced age. Who else suffers from this disorder, paradoxically, is the group portrayed as irresponsible in the face of covid.

Removing the mask is also a social transition. Teenagers tend to be hypersensitive to what their peers think of them, especially their appearance. Mercedes Bermejo, director of the Pozuelo Psychologists clinic, explains that she has “many cases in consultation & rdquor; of this type, because for some young people the masks “give them security, by not having to expose their facial features & rdquor ;. Now that they are pushed to show themselves again, with your acne and your braces, the step is “generating an emotional blockage & rdquor ;.

a foreign body

But all this is not without truth anecdotal component. There are few who continue to walk along the beach with their mouths and noses covered, few who suffer from empty face syndrome, a month after the mask fell indoors, except in places such as public transport, nursing homes and health centers. It gives the impression that much more time has passed, perhaps due to the tendency of the human being to turn the page and not look back. The garment, with its ability to contain the coronavirus and save lives, had long before ceased to be that providential and almost only savior that it was at the beginning of the pandemic, especially as a result of the arrival of vaccines, and it had already passed half a year since its outdoor use was banned. But now the jump is much older.

now tends to collecting dust in pockets, backpacks and bags, to breed balls like the sweater forgotten at the bottom of some drawer, a garment that is not given special attention unless, if at all, it enters a very crowded, small and poorly ventilated space. When you put it on, it becomes a foreign and uncomfortable body, as it was shortly after the coronavirus arrived, because saying goodbye to what is not pleasant is a quick and clean process.

Change “huge & rdquor; before the microphone

Bam Karaoke Box It is one of the fashionable karaoke bars in Madrid. It offers an experience “different” from other places of this type, similar to that found in Japan, with private rooms “safe from prying eyes, where you will create the memories of tomorrow & rdquor ;, indicates its advertising. Spaces for four people, for example, cost between 40 and 72 euros, depending on the time slot. Singing with your mouth covered has something very counterintuitive, like pedaling in stiletto heels, but that’s what his customers had been doing so far. On April 20, at 00:00, just as the new measure came into force, they took off their masks, all at once. “The change in the environment It was enormous –explains its director, Serge Doncel-. There are still those who maintain protection, but they are few, very few & rdquor ;.

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Meanwhile, the infections They have not stopped rising throughout Spain during this last month. If then the cumulative incidence between the older than 60 years, the only age segment in which this indicator is maintained, stood at 505 cases per 100,000 inhabitantsnow it’s in 846. The percentage of icu beds intended for covid patients, on the other hand, has hardly registered a rebound: from 3.84% to 4.20%. Even so, more and more epidemiologists advocate rethinking the new relaxation strategy.

But not the Government, which continues betting on “back to normality & rdquor ;, without completely ruling out a reverse gear. He already gave it just before last Christmas, before the unstoppable advance of the omicron variant, much more contagious than the previous ones, when he again forced to wear a mask on the street for a month and a half. If we make the decision this time, it would be a bit like the Three Wise Men coming back to your house and gifts are taken.


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