image of a man in a surgical mask

Image by Terri Sharp from Pixabay

My wife and I have been to the Nicosia General Hospital today to pick up a drug prescription for our Son-in-Law. We’re old hands at queuing at medical facilities in Cyprus, only to find you’re in the wrong queue and then being told in the next queue we were in the correct queue in the first place. So it can give you time, about 2 hours for a 10 minutes job, to look around and observe the staff and patients. Being the capital of Cyprus, Nicosia’s hospitals are generally very busy. This means more people and more behaviour to observe. But there was an added dimension today, #COVID-19, the new #Coronavirus.

Though the virus hasn’t hit here some people were wearing masks. Hopefully with the warm weather that has just arrived the virus is not going take hold, so we may be spared any outbreak. With warmer weather the air is more humid so, when people who are infected cough, the droplets they expel from their lungs that carry viruses do not stay suspended in humid air as long. Therefore the warmer temperatures lead to more rapid virus degradation. In other words warmer air means the droplets you cough up drop to the floor and die quickly.

But some people are extremely worried and so they were wearing masks, men, women and children. It’s okay to be cautious and if you feel happier with a mask on then go ahead, even though surgical masks wouldn’t do much to protect you. The air will still get in round the sides of the masks. Apart from anything else, most people  were pulling the masks down to talk to the staff because they couldn’t be understood. One woman even had hers over her mouth but not her nose. Even the man selling lottery tickets had a mask on, hanging round his neck so his mouth was free to shout out his wares and get customers to buy… and cough in his face at the same time! People can be very bizarre.

There was one guy who stood out though. Immaculately dressed with an air of sophistication. His gait was medium paced and deliberate. And he was sporting a rather snazzy mask that looked neatly ironed. I doubt his mask would be better than the masks others were wearing if we had a pandemic, but he will get the chance to be the best dressed man in A&E, the Man in the Ironed Mask.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2020

Hospitals have played a significant part in my life as an English expat in Cyprus. Read a few pages by clicking the link below.

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