“Once upon a man with a nose attached” wrote the genius of Quevedo four centuries ago without supposing that now, in addition to a man, what should have been attached to the nose was… the mask.
It doesn't matter if it’s "superlative", as the great Spanish poet described in his sonnet, or whether it’s flat, upturned or like an eagle's beak, the point is that the mask MUST cover the nose.
Not long ago the nowadays famous Dr. Durán spoke on the subject, but a quick peek on the streets is enough to see how many of them are wearing the mask wrong.
They seem to be unaware, or simply don’t care, that the nose is precisely one of the main channels by which SARS-CoV-2 - that darn "thing" - enters the human body.
Important viral loads have been detected precisely in the mucous membranes of the nose, where, as in the mouth and eyes, this coronavirus can be deposited, transported in the droplets expelled by someone infected when coughing, sneezing and even talking.
But there are more reasons to wear the mask correctly, protecting the nose and not just the mouth: Once the virus enters the olfactory mucous membrane, it seems that it could use neuroanatomical connections, such as the olfactory nerve, to reach the brain.
This sentence is not conclusive, but this has been determined by a study published in Nature Neuroscience, where they report having found significant amounts of RNA (ribonucleic acid) and SARS-CoV-2 proteins in the olfactory mucous membrane.
This membrane, placed at the back of the nostrils, holds the nerve cells that allow the brain to translate odors that enter the nose and that’s why infected people often lose their sense of smell, a phenomenon known as anosmia.
In their deductions, German scientist authors of the aforementioned study suggest that the presence of the virus in the brain stem, where among other things resides the control of breathing or heart rhythm, could be influencing the respiratory or heart issues of many of the severe cases.
Among residents, people tend to insist on keeping their physical distance, especially when waiting in lines, but there are not many who demand that the person next to you wears the mask properly or are not alarmed by that, not even now that the number of contagions reach in Cuba worrying figures.
Either to protect oneself or to take care of others it’s essential not only to wear the mask, but to wear it properly, "attached to the nose."
Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff