July 12-18 is World Mask Week!

The Internews Health Journalism Network Joins World Mask Week to Celebrate Masking in Keeping the World Safe from COVID-19

World Mask Week is a global movement to emphasize the critical role of continued masking in reaching the end of the COVID-19 pandemic

This week we are joining forces with the Pandemic Action Network and partners in support of World Mask Week, July 12-18, 2021. Masking in public, in combination with handwashing and physical distancing, is one of the best ways we can protect ourselves and others against COVID-19. Now more than ever, we must stay focused on what keeps us safe and do what we can to end the pandemic.

This year is on track to be a deadlier year in the pandemic than 2020, but the context is different. As the pandemic continues amidst fatigue in much of the world, we are increasingly seeing a two-track pandemic where the pandemic persists with the spread of variants in some countries and regions while others are lifting masking and other public health restrictions.

The World Mask Week initiative encourages people and organizations around the world to rally behind the continued importance of wearing a mask. People will be asked to show their support by sharing a statement, picture, or video on social media, tagged with #WorldMaskWeek and #ThanksForMasking. The Internews Health Journalism Network is participating in World Mask Week by encouraging our members to cover why masking still matters in the fight against COVID-19 and by amplifying this message on social media.

Last year, World Mask Week catalyzed a global masking movement, engaging people in 117 countries.

“It’s easy to think that vaccines and high-tech solutions to COVID-19 are the main story at the moment,” says Ida Jooste, Internews Global Health Media Advisor. “Absolutely equally important for journalists is to emphasize is that the low-tech solutions we have had for much more than a year are still highly effective in preventing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. There is such compelling evidence about the effectiveness of the use of masks, which journalists should keep reporting on. And: all journalists, everywhere, should continue setting a good example by wearing masks at all times. That is both the right scientific thing to do and it shows we care.”

Face coverings block the spray of droplets from sneezing, coughing, talking, singing, or shouting when worn over the mouth and nose. While a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent serious illness and death, the extent to which it prevents people from passing the virus on to others is still emerging. In addition, consistent mask wearing can also reduce the spread of the virus among people who are infected with COVID-19, but do not have symptoms or are unaware they have it.

World Mask Week provides the opportunity for global unity around a single message: Let’s keep masking — not just for ourselves, but for our families, our communities, those who are most vulnerable, and the world.