Western countries should abandon silly mask prejudices

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By Shi Tian Source:Global Times

Some people don’t wear face masks as they walk down a street in Flushing area of Queens on March 2 in New York City. Photo: AFP

A group of researchers in Denmark is launching an experiment which aims to find out whether wearing face masks helps in curbing the coronavirus pandemic. For 30 days starting from April 8, half of the participants – 3,000 people – will wear masks outdoors, while the other 3,000 will not.

Wearing masks in public places has been strictly required for over two months in China, and it has proven highly effective by the outcomes China has achieved. Denmark has seen more than 4,000 COVID-19 cases and is facing an unpredictable situation in the coming 30 days, so a trial risking 3,000 people’s lives to verify a proven fact is more than ridiculous.

This European country is not alone. Till now, most Western countries still refuse to recognize the effect of masks, and at a deeper level, China’s experience.

On Friday, the US government just began to recommend that people wear masks in public. But US President Donald Trump repeatedly stressed it was “voluntary” and he himself would choose “not to do it.”

And in many places in the Western world, masks were even portrayed by certain government officials and media outlets in a negative way. As a consequence, some Asian-looking people have suffered unjustified discrimination and violence because they were wearing masks.

In the face of a deadly virus threatening so many people’s lives, any measure should be adopted and promoted as long as there is a chance that it will work. Moreover, wearing masks is not an unscientific folk prescription, but valuable experience that China gained at the cost of many lives. The attitude of these Western countries toward face masks only shows their extreme prejudice and arrogance.

Their doubts about the masks largely stem from their distrust of China’s experience – fundamentally from their prejudices brought about by different political systems and ideologies. No matter what remarkable achievements China has made, some people in the West tend to question and deny them. However, it is not a time for ideological struggles. China and the West should be teammates fighting together against the virus and learn from each other. Some in the West obviously put ideology and politics above the health of their own people. Allowing themshelves to be dominated by prejudice at this critical time for world cooperation is simply pathetic.

Their attitude also to some extent exposes the arrogance of some in the West. Some people always believe that the Western system is synonymous with democracy, freedom, and science. These words much found on their lips have seemingly given them a sense of superiority. But putting people’s lives at risk to demonstrate their pursuit of these concepts is not something that can be bragged about. At the current stage, the only priority should be protecting the health and lives of people.

Western countries are now the main battlefield of the global fight against the pandemic. It is time for them to abandon their prejudices and arrogance and take the lives of their own people more seriously.

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