One of the enduring memories we'll have of 2020 is the sight of faces shielded behind masks.
Wearing one outside your home has been the law in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire since July 22, as Victoria attempts to tackle a recent surge in cases of COVID-19. And as of midnight Sunday, that will be extended to regional Victorians.
New South Wales residents have also been advised to wear masks on public transport or if they live or work in a virus hotspot.
And on Friday, Woolworths "strongly encouraged" shoppers in NSW, the ACT and hotspot areas of Queensland to wear a mask or face covering in its stores.
While most people are complying with these directives and recommendations, there's a small number who are refusing and loudly spouting myths in the process. Myths that, if allowed to perpetuate unchecked, have the potential to make this already dire situation worse.
In an effort to curb the misinformation, Mamamia's daily news podcast, The Quicky, raised five of the most common anti-mask arguments with Sydney physician Dr Brad McKay.
Here are his responses.
'I shouldn't have to wear a mask, because it's my right as a human to do whatever I want.'
"First of all, that's really selfish," Dr McKay said. "We all live in communities and so we all need to protect other people that are around us, and one of the ways that we can protect other people is by wearing a mask. It's not your right to be able to kill other people and to be able to spread infection.
"It's the same thing when we think of vaccines. We collectively vaccinated as a community—we're collectively immunised—so there's a greater good for the whole population. We need to be thinking about the same thing with masks."
The argument is also flawed from a legal standpoint.
As Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton stressed this week:
"The requirement for residents to wear a face mask or covering when leaving the house is a lawful directive that does not violate any rights set out under Victoria’s charter of human rights and responsibilities or any international human rights instruments.
"Shops, businesses and workplaces are able to refuse entry to a person not wearing a mask in order to protect the health of their staff and other customers."