Ndale ndi Kuzindikira

Nkhani Zamphamvu
Manambala a Coronavirus ku Japan Ali Otsika. Kodi Masks Ndiye Cholinga?

Manambala a Coronavirus ku Japan Ali Otsika. Kodi Masks Ndiye Cholinga?

Nthawi Yowerenga: 9 mphindi

TOKYO — When the coronavirus arrived in Japan, people did what they normally do: They put on masks.

Face coverings are nothing new here. During flu and hay fever seasons, trains are crowded with commuters half-hidden behind white surgical masks. Employees with colds, worried about the stigma of missing work, throw one on and soldier into the office. Masks are even used, my hairdresser once told me, by women who don’t want to bother putting on makeup.

In the United States, where masks only recently arrived on the scene, they have been a less comfortable fit — becoming an emblem in the culture wars. A vocal minority asserts that nobody can force anyone to put a mask on. Protesters have harassed mask-wearing reporters. The president himself has tried to avoid being seen in one.

As Japan has confounded the world by avoiding the sort of mass death from coronavirus seen in the United States, I began to wonder whether the cultural affinity for masks helped explain some of this success. It also got me thinking about the evolution in my own feelings about face coverings.

A decade ago, before we moved to Tokyo when I became The New York Times bureau chief, my husband, two children and I visited Japan to see family and friends. I had picked up a cough on the plane, and my Japanese godfather pointedly dropped into a convenience store to buy me a packet of masks.

Shame on me, but I declined to wear one — they seemed unsightly and uncomfortable.

Fast forward to early this year, when news of a strange virus started emerging from China, and Japan soon reported its first case.

Advice on masks that I was reading from international experts was mixed, if not outright skeptical. The surgeon general of the United States implored the public in a tweet to “STOP BUYING MASKS!” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initially said it was not necessary to wear one if I wasn’t sick.

Still, living in Tokyo, I had grown accustomed to seeing them everywhere. I decided it was better to buy some for me and my family. By then, masks were sold out in most Japanese drugstores, but the Tokyo bureau of The Times managed to procure a small supply that we had to ration.

I was sometimes confused about when to wear one, though I did so when reporting near the Mfumukazi ya diamondi, the cruise ship that was the site of a large coronavirus outbreak, or when I attended yodzaza news conferences in unventilated rooms.

It took some getting used to. The mask made my glasses fog. I didn’t like the feeling of my own breath on my face.

But I’m now a convert, especially since Tokyo was placed under a state of emergency in mid-April. I bought handmade cloth face coverings from a Facebook friend in Okinawa. We wash them daily and line them with coffee filters. Even though the emergency declaration was lifted in late May, I still won’t let anyone in my family leave our apartment without putting on a mask.

With paper masks sold out everywhere, the Japanese government sent cloth masks in the mail in April. The initiative, which cost about $400 million, became the butt of jokes, when people discovered the masks were too small to cover most adults’ mouths and noses.

The masks became a symbol of failings in the government’s coronavirus response. In the early months of the pandemic, Japan seemed not to follow much of the conventional epidemiological wisdom, deliberately restricting testing and not ordering a lockdown.

Yet a feared spike in cases and deaths has not materialized. Japan has reported more than 17,000 infections and just over 900 deaths, while the United States, with a population roughly two and a half times as large, is approaching 1.9 million cases and 110,000 deaths.

“Japan, I think a lot of people agree, kind of did everything wrong, with poor social distancing, karaoke bars still open and public transit packed near the zone where the worst outbreaks were happening,” Jeremy Howard, a researcher at the University of San Francisco who has studied kugwiritsa ntchito masks, said of the country’s early response. “But the one thing that Japan did right was masks.”

Japanese leaders eventually urged karaoke bars and other businesses to close ndi cajoled employees into teleworking. Schools were closed at the beginning of March — far earlier than most countries — and large cultural and sports events were canceled. None of these restrictions were mandatory.

But one of Japan’s most visible responses has been near-universal mask wearing, seen here as a responsible thing to do to protect oneself and others, and as a small price to pay to be able to resume some semblance of normalcy.

Japan’s experience with masks goes back hundreds of years. Mining workers started using them during the Edo period, between the 17th and 19th centuries, to prevent inhalation of dust. The masks were often made from the pulp of plums, said Kazunari Onishi, author of “The Dignity of Masks” and an associate professor at St. Luke’s International University in Tokyo.

Dr. Onishi said that early in the 20th century, the Japanese viewed masks as unattractive, but were persuaded to wear them during the 1918 flu pandemic. More recently, the Japanese public has used masks during the SARS and MERS outbreaks — which also left Japan relatively unscathed — as well as to protect against pollution and pollen.

During the current pandemic, scientists have found a correlation between high levels of mask-wearing — whether as a matter of culture or policy — and success in containing the virus.

  • Mafunso Ofunsidwa Kawirikawiri

    Idasinthidwa Juni 5, 2020

    • Ndi anthu angati omwe ataya ntchito zawo chifukwa cha coronavirus ku US?

      Kuchepa kwa ntchito kwatsika ndi 13.3 peresenti mu Meyi, Dipatimenti ya Ogwira Ntchito idatero pa Juni 5, kusintha kosayembekezeka pamsika wamtunduwu pantchito polemba kuti ntchito iwonjezeke mwachangu kuposa momwe akatswiri azachuma amayembekezera. Akatswiri azachuma ananeneratu kuti kusowa kwa ntchito kudzakwera mpaka 20 peresenti, itakwana 14.7 peresenti mu Epulo, zomwe zinali zapamwamba kwambiri kuyambira pomwe boma lidayamba kusunga ziwonetsero pambuyo pa nkhondo yachiwiri yapadziko lonse. Koma kuchuluka kwa kusowa kwa ntchito kwatsitsidwa, m'malo mwake olemba anzawo ntchito akuwonjezera ntchito miliyoni 2.5, atatha ntchito yopitilira 20 miliyoni mu Epulo.

    • Kodi zionetsero zingayambitse chiwonetsero chachiwiri cha ma virus?

      Ziwonetsero zambiri zotsutsana ndi nkhanza za apolisi zomwe zadzetsa anthu masauzande ambiri m'misewu mu America kudzetsa chidwi chachikulu cha kubukika kwatsopano, zikupangitsa atsogoleri andale, madokotala ndi akatswiri azaumoyo ku achenjeze kuti unyinjiwo ungachititse kuti pakhale vuto lalikulu. Ngakhale atsogoleri andale ambiri amalimbikitsa ufulu wa owonetsa kuti afotokoze zakukhosi kwawo, adalimbikitsa owonetsa ziwonetserozo kuti azivala zomasuka kumaso ndikulimbikitsa kulumikizana, kudziteteza komanso kupewa kufalitsa kachiromboka m'derali. Akatswiri ena oyambitsa matenda opatsirana adalimbikitsidwa ndikuti zionetserozi zimachitikira kunja, ndikuti makina otseguka amatha kuchepetsa ngozi yakufalikira.

    • Kodi tingayambenso bwanji kuchita masewera olimbitsa thupi popanda kudzivulaza patatha miyezi yotsekedwa?

      Ofufuza zolimbitsa thupi ndi madokotala ali ndi upangiri wopanda pake kwa ife omwe tikufuna kubwerera ku masewera olimbitsa thupi pano: Yambani pang'onopang'ono kenako ndikonzanso zolimbitsa thupi zanu, pang'onopang'ono. Akuluakulu aku America ankangokhala antchito 12 peresenti atakhazikitsa ntchito zanyumba mu Marichi kuposa momwe zidalili mu Januware. Koma pali zinthu zina zomwe mungachite kuti muchepetse njira yanu yochitira masewera olimbitsa thupi mosalekeza. Choyamba, "yambirani zoposa 50 peresenti ya masewera olimbitsa thupi omwe mudachitapo kale Covid," atero Dr. Monica Rho, wamkulu wa mankhwala a musculoskeletal ku Shirley Ryan AbilityLab ku Chicago. Kusunthidwa mu mikwingwirima yokonzekera, nayenso, amalangiza. "Mukapanda kuchita masewera olimbitsa thupi, mumachepa minofu." Yembekezerani kupweteka kwa minofu pambuyo pa zoyambirira izi, magawo otsekera, makamaka patatha tsiku limodzi kapena awiri. Koma kumva kuwawa modzidzimutsa kapena kuwonjezeka panthawi yolimbitsa thupi ndi mayankho olimbikitsa kuti muime ndi kubwerera kwanu.

    • Boma langa likutsegulanso. Kodi ndichabwino kutuluka?

      Mayiko akutsegulanso pang'ono pang'ono. Izi zikutanthauza kuti malo omwe anthu ambiri alipo akhoza kugwiritsidwa ntchito ndipo mabizinesi ambiri akuloledwa kutsegulanso. Boma likusiyira chisankho kumayiko, ndipo atsogoleri ena akuchotsa ziganizo kwa olamulira. Ngakhale simukuuzidwa kuti mukhale kunyumba, ndikadali vuto labwino kuchepetsa maulendo akunja komanso kucheza kwanu ndi anthu ena.

    • Kodi chiwopsezo chogwira coronavirus kuchokera kumtunda ndi chiani?

      Kukhudza zinthu zoyipitsidwa kenako ndikudzipatsira tokha majeremusi sizomwe zimayambira momwe kachilomboka kamafalira. Koma zitha kuchitika. Zambiri za maphunziro wa chimfine, rhinovirus, coronavirus ndi ma virus ena awonetsa kuti matenda apumidwe, kuphatikiza coronavirus yatsopano, amatha kufalikira pogwira malo okhala ndi uve, makamaka m'malo ngati malo osamalira ana masana, maofesi ndi zipatala. Koma pamakhala zochitika zingapo kuti matendawo afalikire motero. Njira yabwino kwambiri yodzitetezera ku coronavirus - kaya ndi kufalikira kapena kuyanjana ndi anthu - ndikungoyendayenda, kutsuka manja, osakhudza nkhope yanu komanso kuvala masks.

    • Kodi zizindikiro za coronavirus ndi ziti?

      Zizindikiro zofala monga kutentha thupi, chifuwa chowuma, kutopa ndi kuvuta kupuma kapena kufupika. Zina mwazizindikirozi zimakhudzana ndi chimfine, kupangitsa kuti kuzindikirika kukhala kovuta, koma mphuno zakumwa komanso zonyoza sizachilendo. CDC ilinso anawonjezera kuzizira, kupweteka kwa minofu, zilonda zam'mimba, kupweteka kwa mutu komanso kuwonongeka kwatsopano kwa malingaliro a kununkhira kapena kununkhira ngati zizindikiritso zomwe muyenera kuziwona. Anthu ambiri amadwala masiku asanu mpaka asanu ndi awiri kuchokera pakulankhula, koma matendawa amatha kuwonekera pakapita masiku awiri kapena masiku 14.

    • Ndingadziteteze bwanji ndikuuluka?

      Ngati kuyenda pandege sikungapeweke, pali zina zomwe mungachite kuti mudziteteze. Chofunika kwambiri: Sambani m'manja nthawi zambiri, ndipo siyani kukhudza nkhope yanu. Ngati ndi kotheka, sankhani mpando wazenera. A kuphunzira kuchokera ku Emory University anapeza kuti nthawi yamfulu, malo abwino kwambiri okhala pa ndege ndi pazenera, chifukwa anthu omwe amakhala m'mipando yazenera samalumikizana ndi anthu omwe akudwala. Tetezani pamalo owopsa. Mukafika pampando wanu ndi manja anu ali oyera, gwiritsani ntchito zopukuta ngati zotetemera pampando wanu monga mutu ndi kupumula mkono, chopondera pampando, patali, chinsalu, thumba lakutsogolo ndi tebulo. Ngati mpandowo ndi wolimba komanso wosagwira kapena wachikopa kapena wokondera, mutha kuwuwonanso. (Kugwiritsa ntchito zopukutira pamipando yokweza kumatha kubweretsa mpando wonyowa ndikufalitsa majeremusi m'malo mongawapha.)

    • Kodi ndimatha bwanji kutentha?

      Kutenga kutentha kwa munthu kuti muyang'ane ndi zizindikiro za chimfine sikophweka momwe zimamvekera, popeza kuchuluka kwa kutentha "mwabwinobwino" kumatha kusinthasintha, koma nthawi zambiri, samalirani kutentha kwa madigiri 100.5 kapena kuposerapo. Ngati mulibe thermometer (ikhoza kukhala yamtengo masiku ano), ilipo njira zina zodziwira ngati muli ndi malungo, kapena muli pachiwopsezo cha Covid-19.

    • Kodi ndiyenera kuvala chigoba?

      CDC yatero analimbikitsa kuti aku America onse amavala zovala zansalu ngati atapita pagulu. Uku ndikusintha kwa chitsogozo cha federal chikuwonetsa nkhawa zatsopano kuti coronavirus ikufalikira ndi anthu omwe ali ndi matenda omwe alibe zizindikiro. Mpaka pano, CDC, monga WHO, yalangiza kuti anthu wamba sayenera kuvala maski pokhapokha ngati akudwala komanso akutsokomola. Chimodzi mwazifukwa zake chinali kusungitsa masheya azachipatala kwa ogwira ntchito yazaumoyo omwe amawafunikira kwambiri panthawi yomwe akupeza ndalama zochepa. Maski sachotsa m'malo mwa kusamba m'manja ndi kusungunukira pagulu.

    • Kodi ndingatani ndikadwala?

      Ngati mwakumana ndi coronavirus kapena mukuganiza, komanso kukhala ndi malungo kapena zizindikiro ngati kutsokomola kapena kuvuta kupumira, itanani dokotala. Akuyenera kukupatsirani upangiri ngati muyenera kuyesedwa, momwe mungayesedwe, komanso momwe mungafunire chithandizo chamankhwala osayambitsa ena kapena kuwonetsa ena.


“I think there is definitely evidence coming out of Covid that Japan, as well as other countries which practice mask-wearing, tend to do much better in flattening the curve,” said Akiko Iwasaki, profesa wa immunobiology ku Yale.

The scientific evidence on whether a mask protects the wearer from infection is zosakaniza. But experiments show that masks can be effective in blocking the emission of respiratory droplets that may contain the virus, even when someone has no symptoms of illness. And there is some evidence that infected people with no symptoms can still transmit the coronavirus.

A phunziro published last month suggested that just talking can launch thousands of small droplets.

“Wearing a simple cloth mask could significantly chotsani speech droplets from being released,” two of the study’s authors, Philip Anfinrud and Adriaan Bax of the National Institutes of Health, wrote in an email.

Dekai Wu, a professor of computer science and engineering at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, has model the potential for mass mask-wearing to significantly reduce infections.

While it may be possible to establish only correlation, not causation, he said, “if the downside is nothing, and the upside is huge, then you take the bet.”

Still, most scientists say, masks alone are not enough; social distancing is also needed.

“Many people think that just covering their mouth and nose is enough,” Dr. Onishi said. “If they wear a mask, they think they can go to crowded areas, but that is still very dangerous.”

My family and I have seen that kind of thinking in action. On a recent weekend, we masked up and went for a bicycle ride in Tokyo. After miles of coasting down quiet residential streets and along a flower-lined path, we took a turn into a surprisingly crowded shopping arcade.

As we wove through the crowds, I spotted a long, tightly packed line for coffee at a cafe. Inside a grocery store, nobody was paying much attention to the distance between customers. At a food stand, a huddle formed around the server’s window.

But nearly everyone was wearing a mask.

Hikari Hida contributed reporting.

Nkhaniyi idasindikizidwa poyamba The New York Times.

Posts Related

Siyani Mumakonda

Anu email sati lofalitsidwa.