Monday, 16 May, 2022
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These nine Indian politicians still don’t know how to wear a mask during the Covid-19 pandemic

Wearing masks to protect against Covid-19 infection will be crucial to bring back public life. But politicians must first set a precedent.

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Ever since the coronavirus pandemic turned from a scare into our reality, masks, of varying kinds, have become as essential to us as our phone and wallet when we step out of the house. India has entered stage four of its nationwide lockdown, and as restrictions are gradually lifted across the country, we cannot become complacent. Wearing a mask is an essential measure against the spread of Covid-19.

But while scientists and doctors have cried hoarse about the importance of the three-ply and N95 mask, some politicians in India have failed to understand the importance of wearing one properly. It’s fairly simple — you pick up a mask, pull the elastics on both sides, tuck it safely behind (both) your ears and ensure it covers your nose and mouth, without leaving any gaps underneath your face or on the side.

But our esteemed politicians, across political parties, have shown how to not to wear a mask.

Who wore it best

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackkeray paid his respects to Jyotirao Phule on his 193rd birth anniversary with his mask pulled down so low that his nose and mouth remained bare.

Up north in Haryana and down south in Karnataka, chief ministers Manohar Lal Khattar and B.S. Yediyurappa are “the schnoz”, refusing to cover their noses.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashoka Gehlot sports the “the chinstrap” while holding a meeting with his ministers to tackle the locust attack in his state.
His Jharkhand counterpart, Chief Minister Hemant Soren, was also spotted with one in an interview to ANI. This style of wearing the mask is quite popular with former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis too. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan seems to also be picking up on the trend.

Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Bhagel and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi have forgotten their masks altogether. The irony is not lost on anyone, given how Bhagel was commended for controlling the spread of Covid-19 in his state, while Gandhi was one of the earliest voices to sound an alarm about the coronavirus pandemic.

In the United States, masks have become political ammunition ahead of the presidential elections. President Donald Trump has never been seen wearing a mask since the coronavirus first broke out. He has even gone to the extent of mocking a journalist from CNN, as well as opponent and Democratic candidate Joe Biden, for wearing one. Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has been matching her masks with her outfits, much like our Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Also read: Wearing masks is the one big reason Japan’s coronavirus death toll has been low


To wear, or not to wear

To wear a mask or not wear a mask is turning into a debate of its own. While the World Health Organization has stated that it cannot 100 per cent protect you from getting infected, it is a recommended practice. The roughly 7×5 inches of cloth covering one’s face has gained global political importance in the shortest span possible — the mask has become the icon of the coronavirus pandemic. However, wearing one improperly demonstrates mere idiocy.

In India, a war of words ensues between the Centre and the Opposition on how much is being done to help the fight against coronavirus and whether or not it is enough. It often feels like our leading politicians are failing us at this very basic step, but it seems like both Congress and BJP leaders are united in their ineptness at wearing a mask.

Not wearing a mask, or even wearing one improperly, not only sets a bad precedent for citizens, but also shows ignorance that will further compound our problems. India may be under lockdown, but some politicians have still been tending to matters on the ground, and regularly holding meetings. Thus, it is of utmost importance for them to take all the precautions possible.

It is not impossible to speak while wearing a mask. Yes, it poses a bit of an inconvenience and discomfort. But if a woman can keep her mask on while giving birth and lose 1.5 liters of blood the following two days, you can do it too. You may change your Twitter display picture to one of you in a mask, but that’s not enough. It is time to accept the mask as a reality of our new daily wardrobes, because unfortunately Covid-19 is here to stay.

Views are personal.

Also read: Vir Das incident proves rogue sneezing and coughing are the new guns during Covid-19


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  1. Shekhar Gupta and Team,

    Are you in the business of manufacturing outrage now? What should be a 2 tweet thread is getting an article length space, once again? Please cut the clutter. This article will be considered groundbreaking for Scoopwhoop.

  2. Dear Shekhar and the Print team – I am a big fan of the print and its content. I am also been part of the donation drive that you are running since i truly appreciate the kind of content you generate. Having said that, i was looking at this article and it seems the picture you used of Ms Irani is from Nov 2019 and not recent (parliament is not in session). Gives a very wrong impression of her (not that i am a fan of her). So would appreciate if you reflect facts correctly and not use old pics to create a story.

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