How many times did you have to go home when you realized you were not wearing it? Or having to buy an emergency one by covering your mouth with your hands or clothes with a face of shame? Or hang your head in disappointment when you try to enter a trade until someone makes us realize that we are not wearing it? The chinstrap has become part of our clothing, a health key to avoid contagion. But today, in several countries that have very advanced vaccination, its use is no longer required. And we see on television how many people take it off and even throw it away, happy to return a little “to the old normality.” Unfortunately, Tucumán is far from that reality and the experts are categorical. At least this year there are no possibilities to stop using it, and it is very likely that until after the winter of 2022 its use will continue to be mandatory.
In an interview published 15 days ago in LA GACETA, the Tucumán doctor Santiago Neme, who works in Seattle, United States, warned that in that country in places where there are few vaccinated, you have to continue with a chinstrap. “But in others, people have already removed it, and it does not seem convenient to me since there are more infections due to that. I think we should continue with the chinstrap for a while longer, “he explained. And three days ago, in the program Panorama Tucumano of LA GACETA, the Executive Secretary of Siprosa, Luis Medina Ruiz, was also categorical: “We have seen countries that stopped using it, but for me it is a mistake. You cannot leave the chinstrap now, and the day we leave it we must hang it up and thank him for saving our lives. It is the best way to protect ourselves and surely this year we are not going to leave it and I do not know if the next one will not either ”.
For the infectologist Aída Torres, it is unreasonable to think about stopping using that protection. “Although we may think that at some point we will leave it, it is impossible to say a date. We are going to remove the chinstrap when there is less viral circulation and this was achieved in the countries that vaccinated 80% of the population with the two doses, as long as it does not attack another variant. Where they stopped wearing the chinstrap they had to use it again. We will only stop using it when there is almost no community circulation and for us, in Argentina, that is a long time ago ”.
Adriana Bueno, also an infectologist, thinks that thinking about the end of the chinstrap is not wise. “We have an average of 50% of the population with one dose of vaccine, and 15% with two doses, so we still do not have the critical mass of vaccinated to cut the chain of transmission of the virus. That is, one in two Argentines did not receive any vaccine, and it is considered that the pediatric population that has not yet been vaccinated also transmits to a greater or lesser extent ”. And he added: “for herd immunity we must have 80% of the population vaccinated with the two doses. We are far from that, so we will continue with the chinstrap for a long time ”.
Gustavo Costilla Campero, head of Infectious Diseases at Hospital Padilla, assures us that we cannot think about the end of recommending the use of the chinstrap. “It is a universal preventive measure to reduce the risks of exposure to the virus. I don’t think we can do it in the near future as we have high community transmission. Beyond vaccination, we have to continue using it, ”he said.
In Japan there are records that show that during the Edo period (1603-1868) pieces of cloth or bamboo were already used to cover the mouth. And they continue to wear a chinstrap when they are sick, or to avoid being infected. It is part of their culture. Many specialists say that we should imitate them, beyond the pandemic. Meanwhile, thinking about abandoning its use today is a chimera. Well used, it is the true protective shield against the virus.