Dr. Deena Hinshaw addresses Lethbridge anti-mask protesters
Protesters went to Lethbridge city hall on Tuesday to rally against a bylaw mandating mask use at indoor public spaces.
LETHBRIDGE -- Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says she doesn't agree with concerns raised by those who feel masks aren’t useful in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
"The more people who wear face masks, the more our community and those around us are protected," she said during a regular update Wednesday afternoon.
Hinshaw was fielding a question regarding those who feel masks aren’t effective in slowing down the virus. The topic was brought to light following a protest at Lethbridge city hall on Tuesday, when protestors vented their frustration during the council meeting.
Those who attended the protest said they are upset with city’s bylaw, mandating mask use at indoor public spaces. That includes places like malls, grocery stores, retail businesses, churches, as well as in taxis and ridesharing businesses.
Lee Mein, one of the organizers at Tuesday’s protest, isn’t sold on the idea that masks are preventing the spread of the virus.
“The best studies out there show it may or may not make a difference and they’re talking about medical masks, N95 masks. They also say cough masks don’t help” said Mein.
Hinshaw has a different view on non-medical masks, however, believing them to be effective.
“The non-medical facemasks are most important when someone is wearing it to protect those around them,” she said.
Since people carrying COVID-19 can be asymptomatic, medical experts have pushed for the public to wear masks when unable to social distance.
Therefore, if someone who is unaware they are carrying the virus exhales particles into the air, those around them are less susceptible to catching the virus.
Mein says he has a problem with this notion.
“If you’re not sick, you shouldn’t be wearing a mask. If we’re healthy people, we shouldn’t be doing things to assume we’re sick” he said.
Hinshaw doesn’t want others to believe masks shouldn’t be worn when they are not sick or symptomatic.
“If it’s a medical facemask that has been standardized to provide the filtration, that’s appropriate … face masks can both protect the person wearing it as well as those around them because it prevents particles from coming in while they are breathing in, as well as catching particles that they are breathing out,” said Hinshaw.