Lockdowns are necessary because of uncertainty. But the direction of evidence is that people can move around more freely if we disrupt the transmission chain. That cannot be done by one measure alone. Social distancing remains important. Handwashing remains important. But we have to stop transmission at source – and face masks are an important first line of defence to limit the initial spread of the coronavirus. We must wear face masks together with practicing all other prevention measures. We need to reduce the risks of community spread during a lockdown, and we need to be ready to bring our economy back to life after lockdown.
If we start making, distributing, and teaching people how to use masks NOW we can ensure that the 60 million people in South Africa are as safe as possible. And we need not stop there! There are 1.2-billion people in Africa who can follow this path with simple materials that they have at home. And we stand by other activists and volunteers around the world who have stood up to be counted and are making and sharing masks. We can stand our ground in the face of COVID-19. There is hope. We must stand together and be counted…..more