2020 Vision: We need to mask debate

If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed. — Mark Twain

Ronnie Apteker
4 min readAug 13, 2020


Perhaps you have seen that funny video about the great mask debate. If not, then click here. Yeah, go ahead laugh. I thought it was funny. But what is not so charming is the poisonous media which has made mass debate impossible. Everything is now binary. There is no middle ground.

What is the mass media on about. It is all fear, fear, fear. What about all the people who have recovered. Where is the media coverage on that?

Yes, we are in the middle of a pandemic, and yes, this must be new terrain for everyone. So you would think the world would be together for once. Wishful thinking I guess. The media has been irresponsible, in my view. And let’s not forget social media. That is another whole challenge.

People are dying from Covid-19. I personally know of 10 people that have died in South Africa because of this virus. Granted, these folk were all elderly and had health issues, but still it is very sad, and very worrying. But I am way more concerned about all the people that are going hungry and have no clue how to earn a living in this economic mess that has ensued.

I know this is a very sensitive subject and I don’t have the answers. I know we all have to be careful, and I am not going to restaurants, or any public places. I wash my hands, wear a mask, avoid standing next to anyone in the supermarket, and I am alert and as careful as I can be. But not everyone has the ability to practice social distancing. People living in informal settlements, for example, are in a very difficult situation. Inequality has certainly been highlighted by the corona virus.

When it comes to this crises we seem to be only measuring one thing: the number of people dying from the virus. But what about the number of people that are now going hungry, or the people that can’t get treated at a hospital for other illnesses, because the system is all upside down. What about the people who have lost their jobs and are not earning. Where is the money for food coming from?

All things need to be considered. It can’t be so polarized. And yes, I know, it is easier said than done. By the time we figure this out the next wave will will be ridden by Shaun Thomson. What did that even mean? Makes about as much sense as the destruction of the economy. Die of corona or die of starvation. Not an easy problem to solve.

The virus is here to stay. Please God there will be a cure or a vaccine in 2021. Who knows, perhaps crazy Mr. Putin may save the day. These days one can believe just about anything.

The last blog post, about the cinema business in Europe, perhaps suggested opening up the economy too soon, or too late, depending on your perspective. Different countries are doing different things and have different attitudes and disciplines when it comes to the danger. But for sure, we all need to be careful. Me personally, I am not going to a restaurant, a cinema, an airplane. Not this year. And we all need to wear masks. In my view, this should not be optional, and it should be enforced by law. When I go to the supermarket I see too many people on their phones, and the mask is under the chin. WTF?

Observations from Gus Silber: What is really scary about the great, ahem, “mask debate”, is that it will very likely fade into insignificance compared to the great vaccine debate that will follow when (not if) a viable vaccine is made available for mass global public immunisation. The level of disinformation, misinformation, fear, and paranoia around vaccines is frightening. Just search for “Bill Gates” on Twitter or Facebook. Or better still, don’t. And especially don’t search for “5G”, in any combination with the pandemic. Never before in history has it been so easy for anyone to access and share knowledge, but the flipside is that it has equally never been easier for anyone to access and share stupidity. And as Einstein once said, there is no element in the universe that is more ubiquitous. If only there was some kind of vaccine to cure it!

We would be keen to hear your thoughts. If you want to share your perspective please send an email to ronnie@prettyapt.com



Ronnie Apteker

I am an artist and an entrepreneur.