Wearing of mask still matters

Groups launch World Mask Week 2021

Wearing of mask still matters
The campaign calls on organizations around the world to rally behind the continued importance of wearing a mask.

Several groups have come together to launch World Mask Week 2021, spanning July 12 to 18.

Pandemic Action Network, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the African Union, 3M and over 50 global, regional, and local partner organizations launched the global campaign underlining what they call a “universal truth”:

“Masking in public, in combination with handwashing and physical distancing, is still one of the best ways we can protect ourselves and others against COVID-19, especially our most vulnerable community members as countries race to vaccinate their populations.”

The campaign came following Prince Edward Island’s announcement easing masking rules in the province.

According to WHO, 2021 is already a deadlier year in the pandemic than 2020. Today, we are seeing a two-track pandemic emerge: some regions are up against the spread of variants and rising case numbers, while others with access to vaccines are lifting masking and other public health restrictions, according to the groups.

“Everyone who has worn a mask in public has helped slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, deputy director of the Africa CDC. “As the pandemic continues to spread and access to vaccines has been slow across much of Africa, we must fight against pandemic fatigue and continue to do what we can to keep everyone safe.”

The campaign calls on organizations around the world to rally behind the continued importance of wearing a mask. People can show their support by sharing a statement on social media with #WorldMaskWeek, and a picture, or video with their favorite mask, tagging others with the message of “Thanks For Masking”.

“Last year, with the first World Mask Week, we sparked a global movement in 117 countries to wear masks. This year, as the pandemic persists in much of the world, we're coming together around the message that masking still matters and to show gratitude for those who have worn a mask and continue to mask up,” said Eloise Todd, co-founder of the Network. “In order to end this pandemic for everyone, we must deploy all the tools available around the world to fight COVID-19 - and that includes mask-wearing.”

The Pandemic Action Network has also released a Why Masking Still Matters policy brief including key messaging and recommendations for governments, businesses, and individuals.

Pandemic Action Network was launched in April 2020 to drive collective action to help bring an end to COVID-19 and to ensure the world is prepared for the next pandemic. Since launching, the Network has been working with influencers to promote mask-wearing, along with physical distancing and handwashing.

Earlier this year, Saskatchewan announced it is providing schools with $10 million worth of safety gear to continue to help keep students and school staff safe.