The time of writing is in February, 29, 2020 and the dream is seeing people wearing face masks. The setting is in the thick of a pandemic called COVID-19, aka Novel Coronavirus, that reared its ugly head in December 2019.
In this dream, everyone is wearing their face mask. Small communities of people are rendered faceless. Instead, the blue surgical face mask provides the common face against COVID-19.
Suddenly, a face without a face mask punctuates the sea of sterile masks. This is a nightmare. Why is this person without a mask? Doesn’t she know how dangerous it is to breathe in the Coronavirus? Wait, is this person The One With The Virus? Is that why this person is not wearing a mask? I couldn’t bear the suspense. I approached a masked person in the crowd. “Why is that person not wearing a mask?” I asked, while inclining my head in the direction of the mask-less person. Almost immediately, the offending mask-less person turned towards me. I was shaking with fear. Then I woke up.
If the world’s population stands at 7.7 billion, there should be the same number of face masks, right? Wrong. There are users of face masks who discard them at the end of their days, which means that we need an excess of 7.7 billion face masks every day. Then again, there are thrifty users who re-use their face masks everyday, until their mask disintegrates. Face masks are not mandatory because governments know they cannot guarantee maintaining a steady stockpile of them. They say, “Use face masks only when you’re sick, to avoid spreading germs to other people around you.” In short, protect other people from your germs, and not use face masks as a primary defence to protect yourself against breathing in other people’s germs.