A past-president of the Canadian Medical Association is trying to reach out to the widest possible audience to spread the word about COVID-19, so she’s taken an unusual approach to encourage younger Manitobans to wear masks.
Dr. Gigi Osler said she’s begun using social media platform TikTok to spread information and tips about the virus — especially as guidelines from health officials keep changing — to young Manitobans, who are partly behind the recent spike in cases and don’t necessarily follow traditional media.
“It reaches an audience that might not watch the government press conferences every day or watch the news every night,” Osler told 680 CJOB.
“We’re hearing more calls for doctors and public health experts to get onto these platforms to help spread these public health messages.”
Osler said public health messaging hasn’t always been consistent over the course of the pandemic when it comes to wearing masks since COVID-19 is still a new virus that experts continue to learn more about.
Increasingly, scientific studies indicate that wearing a mask not only protects others but could also reduce the severity of the virus should you be infected, she said.
“Because there wasn’t a lot of studies and research looking at the effectiveness of cloth masks, public health in different areas were unsure: ‘should we start to recommend it?’
“But over the course of the virus, we started to hear more observational studies and more lab studies,” Osler said.
“It’s an entirely new virus to the body, so experts are continuing to learn how it spreads, and the advice about masks continues to evolve — so it’s not that they were wrong at the beginning, it’s just that when the virus started, we didn’t have a lot of that information.”
In an attempt to get a handle on the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the province, Manitoba announced more restrictions Friday, including stricter limits on gathering sizes and capacity at some type of businesses.
Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman expressed his frustration with the situation and said, among other effects, the new restrictions said the changes mean the city will be suspending in-home, non-emergency inspections starting Monday until further notice.
“While I recognize that not everyone can wear a mask, for everyone else … wear a friggin’ mask,” he said in response to recent protests over mandatory mask rules.
“Look after people other than yourself, and you can do that by simply wearing a mask.”
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