CONCERNED CITIZENS OF THE US VIRGIN ISLANDS REQUESTING REVIEW OF MANDATORY MASK ORDER
12th May, 2020
From: Concerned Citizens of the US Virgin Islands
To: Governor Albert Bryan
1105 King Street
Dear Governor Bryan,
We are grateful for your careful leadership and the concern and wisdom you have extended our community in these extraordinary times.
We applaud your decision of 7th May, to accept a critical condition corona virus patient from a Maersk Cargo Ship after they were denied entry to Puerto Rico. You are a compassionate humanitarian.
We hope that when reading this letter, you feel similar compassion.
As concerned citizens we ask you to consider the following information about the dangers of prolonged mandatory mask wearing.
We know you cannot possibly be everywhere overseeing on the ground what is happening in the community. So we humbly offer our observations.
- People driving alone in cars wearing masks.
- People hot and breathless pulling at their masks and touching their faces.
- People wearing them only over their mouths in order to breathe through their nose because they feel suffocated.
- People pulling and moving masks due to discomfort and being light-headed in an effort to breathe.
- People wearing masks being aggressive and abusive to those choosing to observe the non-mandatory wearing of masks in approved outdoor places whilst observing social distancing.
Governor, the community is fearful and confused. We need help to understand when and when not to wear masks.
We respect that you are following in the footsteps of the US mainland states who have been greatly impacted by the virus, having large urban and densely populated areas. And yet we in the Virgin Islands do not have a dense population and we also have a uniquely hot and humid climate, that lends unique health and safety concerns, especially as we now head into summer and the hottest time of the year.
We have a lot of people wearing a variety of masks; homemade cloth, N95, other surgical masks etc, without being properly informed on the dangers of wearing masks incorrectly and excessively.
We ask that this be addressed and the mandatory mask wearing order be removed. And in its place, that mask wearing in the Virgin Islands be encouraged but voluntary, and that the criteria to determine whether or not to wear a mask follows the WHO recommended guidelines:
‘Only two groups of people should wear a protective mask, those who are;
1. Sick and showing symptoms.
2. Caring for people suspected to have coronavirus.’
Additional guidance from the WHO states:
‘Masks are not generally recommended for the public because;
1. They can be contaminated by the wearer’s coughs and sneezes, or when putting them on or removing them.
2. Frequent handwashing and social distancing are more effective.’
Governor, we ask that clear information be disseminated about how to wear any mask, and especially homemade cloth masks, safely without risking bacterial infection, hypercapnia (carbon dioxide toxicity) and viral contamination. (Please see the attached scientific papers that support these concerns.)
We ask that people can wear a mask by choice if they decide it is appropriate for their concerns and needs. As recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) – mask wearing ‘should be voluntary.’ Also, quoted from the CDC latest recommendations: “A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but it ‘may’ prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others.”
The CDC cannot say that masks 100% work to prevent Covid19 transmissions, and again re-iterating WHO guidelines: ‘Frequent handwashing and social distancing are more effective.’
Governor, we are grateful for your consideration to further help our community. Our children cannot breathe properly, people are confused and dangerously mis-using masks, which will potentially lead to outbreaks of disease, the dangers of which far outweigh the current situation.
We hope you will consider our concerns shared by so many in our community. We want to protect and honor our beloved seniors and those most at risk.
However, we as a community need to be healthy and strong, physically and mentally, and the dangerous potentials of serious breathing disorders, bacterial and viral infections and car accidents due to people fainting behind the wheel in our hot and humid climate are very real. Added to this, the risks of increased violence due to fear, confusion and misinformation are also grave.
Attached are scientific papers that we have gathered, that support our concerns.
Thank you so very much for your time Governor.