Considered exotic and even extravagant until a few months ago in Cuba, today the use of the face mask is a national requirement and part of the arsenal of measures to combat Covid-19.
Still at the beginning of the year, the garment was seen as part of clothing used by citizens of other cultures, concerned about the high levels of environmental pollution.
Elementary in the list of recommendations to maintain the recommended social distancing in the face of the pandemic, these masks are mandatory on the island in front of conglomerates of people or in close dialogues between people.
Hence, popular inventiveness, especially of seamstresses and costume stylists, was responsible for promoting beautiful and functional designs of chinstraps, as they are also known, which for their ingenuity and color attract attention.
However, not a few citizens do not use them or put them under their nose, failing to comply with the measures implemented by the Government to cut the chain of contagion by the SARS Cov-2 coronavirus.
Faced with such indiscipline, Cuban authorities apply fines to offenders, considered slight by a part of the citizenry, concerned about the outbreak of the disease, especially in Havana and in the nearby province of Artemisa.
It is scientifically proven that the widespread use of masks can reduce transmission to controllable levels and prevent new waves of the pandemic, if used in combination with quarantines.
A British study, released on June 10, showed that confinement alone will not stop the resurgence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, while masks can dramatically reduce transmission rates, if sufficient numbers of people wear them in public.
Scientists from the British universities of Cambridge and Greenwich recommended the immediate and universal adoption of face masks by the population.
Renata Retkute, a co-author of the study, said there is 'little to lose from the widespread adoption of masks, but the gains could be significant.'
On the subject, the professor of Sociology at the University of Shumei, Mitsutoshi Hori, explained to BBC Mundo that in Japan 'when someone is sick, out of respect for the other, they wear a mask to avoid infecting others.'
He clarified that it is not only a disinterested collective practice, but a self-protective ritual against risk.
Analysts consider this is one of the causes of the low rate of infections in that nation compared to that of the seven countries considered the largest economies on the planet (United States, China, Germany, France, United Kingdom and Canada).
According to historical research, great world epidemics that left thousands and even millions of dead, have no history of the use of masks before 1889.
There is no evidence in the cases of Syracuse (395 BC), or the bubonic plague, described by Boccaccio in the fourteenth century which kept him in confinement for 100 days, time he used to write his masterpiece, The Decameron.
Press media assure that the masks appeared for the first time at the end of the 19th century; doctors used them in surgeries to avoid bacteria in the air.
During the great plague of Manchuria in 1910, which killed 100 percent of the infected people, a young Malaysian doctor discovered that transmission was not only through the bite of fleas, but via the air, from person to person.
The discovery made him a promoter of the use of the mask, a protective garment that stopped the advance of the pneumonic plague in China in 1911. Eight years later, they were widely adopted as protection against the so-called Spanish Flu.
Over the years, the garment became very popular in the Asian giant, where they symbolize caring for the community and civic awareness.
History shows that, like today, with the advance of Covid-19, it is not the first time that the world takes refuge in face masks.
And although it is true that it makes facial recognition difficult for people, on the other hand it shows that behind each mask there is a human being who takes care of himself and at the same time is thinking of you.