Public urged to wear face mask at crowded Christmas parties
MANILA, Philippines — It’s the season to be merry, but don’t forget to wear a face mask for protection in crowded parties, a disease expert urged the public on Monday, reminding them that the pandemic is still here.
Dr. Edsel Salvana, a former member of the Department of Health-Technical Advisory Group (DOH-TAG), emphasized the importance of wearing a face mask to avoid contracting COVID-19 and other common and contagious illnesses during the season, such as flu.
“Unang-una important ‘yong paggamit ng mask lalo na sa crowded areas kasi alam naman natin na kung ma-tiyempohan ka lang minsan, naka-tanggal ‘yong mask mo and somebody sneezes, eh pwede kang mapuruhan,” Salvana said at the Laging Handa Public Briefing.
(First of all, it is important to use masks, especially in crowded areas, because we know that if there is an instance where you take off your mask and somebody sneezes, you can get infected.)
“Pangalawa is make sure na bakunado po tayo, hindi lang sa COVID, kung hindi against the flu rin na meron naman po tayong yearly flu vaccine, at doon sa mga matatanda important po na meron ding pneumonia vaccine […] ito po ay makakapag-maximize ng protection,” he added.
(Second is to ensure that we are vaccinated against COVID, but also against the flu, which we have yearly, the annual flu vaccine, and for the elderly, it is important also to have the pneumonia vaccine as these can maximize protection.)
Salvana said that for those with lingering ailments or comorbidities, the best way to avoid diseases, including COVID-19, is just to avoid attending social functions. But if it’s unavoidable, they should wear face masks.
“Doon naman sa mga may vulnerable populations katulad ng may comorbids at matatanda, mas maganda po talaga na habang nandito pa ‘yong pandemya at mataas ‘yong antas ng trangkaso sa komunidad, iwasan po muna natin as much as possible,” he said.
(For vulnerable populations like those with comorbidity and the elderly, it is really better to just avoid attending as much as possible while the pandemic is here and the level of flu in the community is still high.)
“I-decrease ‘yong risk sa pagsasalo sa mga, you know, in areas na maraming tao at kung hindi po talaga maiiwasan ay gumamit po tayo ng mask at siguraduhin po natin na up-to-date po tayo sa ating mga bakuna at boosters,” he explained.
(Decrease the risk of catching the diseases, you know, in crowded areas and if really unavoidable, let’s use masks and ensure that our vaccine and boosters are up-to-date.)
On December 13, DOH noted a slight uptick in COVID-19 cases nationwide. This led health experts to stress the importance of protecting the population from another possible surge.
Before this, DOH said that having 2,200 new COVID-19 cases would be possible during the Christmas season if minimum public health standards like physical distancing, wearing of face masks, and maintaining proper hygiene, were not observed.
According to Salvana, the public must watch out for the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) prevalent in children in the United States (US) – aside from COVID-19, which is still here.
Last November, DOH said a surge in RSV cases in the Philippines was monitored, with around 200 Filipino children affected.
“Alam naman natin itong mga respiratory diseases sa season na ‘to, kasama dyan ang trangkaso, mga ubo’t sipon, sa mga bata ‘yong tinatawag na Respiratory syncytial virus or ‘yong RSV na kumakalat sa US ngayon at meron din sa atin sa Pilipinas. And of course, hindi pa rin naman tapos ang pandemya, nandyan pa rin ang COVID kaya kinakailangan natin mag-ingat,” he noted.
(We know that during this season, we have respiratory diseases like the flu, common colds, and cough, and for children, the Respiratory syncytial virus or RSV is spreading in the US and was detected in the country. And, of course, the pandemic is still now over, COVID-19 is still there, so we really should be cautious.)
COVID-19 shouldn’t be exclusive face mask rule basis – expert
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