A friendly reminder to always wear a mask

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In this webcomic, an artist and illustrator shares why she didn’t want to wear a mask at first. Illustration by MIKA BACANI

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Masks are part of our new normal. Even before the pandemic hit, we’ve been seeing an uptick of people wearing masks due to the Taal eruption. But once COVID-19 made its presence felt on our shores, people have used masks as a primary shield against the virus. Although there’s been a debate about the role of masks in our battle against the new virus, it is undeniable that wearing a mask is symbolic of a lot of things. It can be a statement. It can show respect. It can show solidarity.

The idea of masks has been in the mind of artist and illustrator Mika Bacani since the pandemic began. She says, “Wearing a mask before going out, seeing everyone else [wearing a] mask, dealing with the itch at the back of your ears — the whole routine and experience is something I find myself thinking about a lot. It boggles my mind how there are people who range from opposed to completely offended by the idea of masks.”

She adds, “Anxiety from seeing a bare-faced person is real! Masks are good etiquette at this point. We’re all stressed out from the pandemic, so the least you can do for your others is to not pile on more anxiety.”

Bacani reflects on this anxiety in this webcomic called “You Should Always Wear a Mask.” Here, she details her initial skepticism and how she eventually saw the value in wearing masks.

But wearing masks can also mean that the fight against COVID-19 is not over. “I’m operating under the idea that this can go on until next year,” Bacani says. “It’s really hard to imagine how things can get better when they’ve been consistently getting worse. I try to be hopeful because I feel like I have no other choice!”

Read the webcomic below.