Does South Korea’s nose-only Covid mask pass the smell test?

Even though every country, and every citizen of those countries, seems to have a slightly different view of what constitutes proper COVID-19 protocols, one thing remains universal: a preponderance of wishful thinking about what will and won’t protect us. of disease transmission. . Trendspotting in South Korea has identified a new mask style, “kosk”, which essentially institutionalizes the inappropriate practice of using a mask to cover your nose Where mouth, but not both.

Kosk The masks look like a small bra for the middle of the face, securely covering the nose, but leaving the wearer’s mouth unobstructed and free to eat, drink and, you know, contract a highly contagious airborne disease.

The most popular version of these masks – called “kosk” in a combination of kbthe Korean word for nose and mask – are produced by a company called Atman and sell for 9,800 won ($8.18) for a box of 10. It’s sort of the sexy split from dangerous masking practices, with two pieces, one of which can be removed to leave the mouth uncovered, like a little striptease to attempt disease transmission.

It’s unclear why people imagine that covering only half of the same respiratory system is an effective way to protect against COVID-19 transmission, but this new approach may be partly responsible for new coronavirus cases in South Korea. , with numbers hitting a record high of 22,907 earlier this week.

In all honesty, however, wearing a kosk is just as inefficient as wearing a COVID mask under the nose, a common practice in places with daily case rates much higher than South Korea. Not to mention the most magical thought of all: people who wear masks while waiting for a table at a restaurant, but then take them off while dining (as we know, COVID-19 can’t catch you while you’re seated at a table).

South Korea has recorded a relatively low number of 6,812 deaths since the start of the pandemic, a death rate of 133 per million, compared to 2,300 per million in the United Kingdom and 2,747 in the United States. Wear at least one kosk is half-acknowledged that COVID-19 exists and can be mitigated by wearing a face covering. That’s still half as good as millions and millions of North Americans, who continue to scoff at the science of disease all the way to intensive care. So maybe we should all put our little bras on and get ready for another year of wishful thinking with the balance of Joan Didion (RIP).

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