We call for all global citizens to urge their local representatives to provide high-efficiency masks and/or respirators for all persons.
To empower individuals and families to achieve Covid Zero at the community level.
As a matter of humanitarian decency, we call for national delegations of the UN member states to adopt the precautionary measures outlined in this petition into a ratified international treaty.
Providing every citizen with access to a high-efficiency mask or respirator is the easiest, least invasive and most cost-effective method of ensuring we reach zero community transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
After more than 3 million lives lost, widespread economic loss, restriction of personal freedoms during lockdowns and the ongoing long-term suffering of millions across the globe, it’s time to end the COVID-19 pandemic once and for all.
But why aren’t vaccines enough?
The mRNA vaccines that have been developed are definitely an important weapon against COVID-19. Masks will add a crucial (and necessary) additional layer of protection.
Current vaccines may not protect against current and future variants of the virus that are inevitably developing.
Vaccines do not eliminate the virus, SARS-CoV-2, from our bodies; it simply gives our immune systems, temporarily, a better chance of mitigating its damaging effects. The risk of ill health is still present given the lack of absolute vaccine efficacy.
People who are unwilling or unable to get a vaccine can still be protected by wearing a high-efficiency mask; moreover, protection of immunocompromised individuals is given by high-efficiency masks, but not by vaccines.
The longer it takes to achieve the herd-immunity threshold (vaccinating enough of the population), the more opportunities the virus has to mutate into far more concerning strains, which in turn, will require new types of vaccines. As high-efficiency masks do not allow the virus to enter our bodies to begin with, they are the first step (in a series of many steps) in stopping this madness.
Our goal is a common one: to bring community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to zero. We firmly believe that all exit strategies must be accessible and attainable for the diverse array of communities suffering from COVID-19. Our public health authorities have been advocating the vaccine as a component of an exit strategy, given the breakthrough of the mRNA-type vaccines. Nonetheless, we believe that only focusing (tunneling) on vaccines as an exit strategy will result in more morbidity and mortality than necessary.
Ensuring every home is equipped with reusable high-efficiency masks offers protection against the expected variants, whatever their nature may be. This airborne pandemic, with the mutations to come, is too unpredictable for the vaccine intervention to control alone: no one knows the potential of the arising variants. High-efficiency masks can prevent contracting the virus, and thus is key in eliminating the virus from our communities. With this petition, we aim to address where the vaccine intervention may potentially fall short.
Given the uncertainty we face, our actions should mirror the consequences that could arise: if governments genuinely wish to take appropriate precautions, to act in spirit of the precautionary principle, they will make high-efficiency masks available to their jurisdictions. This should not only be seen as an intervention for the current disaster: ensuring every family has access to reusable high-efficiency respirators that are designed to last multiple years, would safeguard our citizens from future respiratory pandemics, which would also help with seasonal influenza outbreaks and asthma.
We must understand that the rise of long-range connectivity (international travel/trade) has increased the risk of devastating pathogens, like the spread of SARS-Cov-2. We must act preventatively now.
If governments had acted more aggressively prior to December 2019, the return on investment would have been immense: more than 3,050,000 deaths (as of April 2021) could have been prevented. Imagine if the loss of life, morbidity, the bankrupt businesses, the restrictions on our freedoms, had been nothing but a dream, a dodged bullet.
We can do better. We must pressure our local leaders to act. There is an opportunity for us to save lives if we take action now to provide high efficiency masks and/or respirators to protect against the future variants. There is an opportunity to protect humanity from the unknowable disasters to come.
If you see a dust storm brewing, you would avoid breathing it without proper protection because you innately know it is not good for you.
If you know that pollinating flowers give rise to your allergies, you would avoid breathing near them without proper protection.
If you know that SARS-Cov-2 is airborne, would you want to be protected to avoid it? The logic is simple but not stressed clearly enough in our legacy media institutions: SARS Cov-2 is an airborne virus. The virus is not viable outside the human host for long (but this could change with coming mutations); its attack vector is most often our nose/mouth and one infects others through the same passageways. Filtering both routes effectively would offer individuals, and with enough collective action, communities, more safety than any vaccine could ever provide. Leave aside how public health authorities across the globe were ambiguous on the utility of masks, but the hesitancy in deeming SARS Cov-2 as airborne has left the public dangerously complacent in face of this tragic disease. We cannot rely on these organizations engaged in phony philanthropy: action must be taken locally. It is an evident human rights violation that every human does not have access to a high-efficiency mask in our modern world and history will remember it as such
This petition is not advocating for a mandatory mask law; we respect the autonomy of the individual and one should be free to decide the amount of risk they wish to hold for themselves and their close contacts. However, we are asking for local governments to heed our warning for the uncertainty we face today: ensuring every person has access to high-efficiency masks would increase the freedom of the individual to abide by the precautionary advice.