Learn from Asian countries and wear masks

The wearing of masks has been a controversial subject in the UK since the start of the pandemic. It hasn't helped that messages from government, especially the UK government, have been mixed at best and extremely misleading at worst. At the start of the pandemic we were told masks were of no benefit, then that they could even be harmful and that we would be depriving the NHS of vital PPE. All of these ideas have been disproven . The point about PPE was especially disengenuous as ordinary members of the public are unlikely to be able to afford N95 masks.

Over the last 6 months, while we have been debating masks on radio phones-ins, arguing about them in the street etc. people in Asian countries have been wearing them in all kinds of situations without having to be told by governments. Maybe I'm lucky in that I lived in an Asian country for a long time and felt compelled to wear a mask in winter just so that I wouldn't share the common cold with other people. It's considered very bad form to spread your germs everywhere and infect other people, so many wear a mask to protect others. I've never felt comfortable wearing a mask but it now seems extremely reckless to refuse to wear a mask when it might mean infecting and even killing another person. And the evidence is clearer and clearer, masks are very effective in limiting the spread of Covid to others. There's also evidence emerging that it might protect the wearer from the most severe effects of Covid by limiting the 'viral load' received.

I know we don't like to be told what to do by people in other countries and we like doing things our own way. And there are many good things about our culture in the UK and in Scotland and people can learn from us in different ways. But we should be big enough to admit that other countries have had it right on masks from the start and now that western science has caught up with them, we need to forget the discomfort, physical and emotional, and wear masks whenever we are indoors or when we are in crowds of people not socially distancing outdoors.

Why the contribution is important

The science is clear that masks are effective:

There is also evidence that the low death rate and spread of Covid 19 in Asia was partly related to early adoption of mask wearing:

by Pipkins on October 10, 2020 at 06:15PM

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  • Posted by buggerlugs October 11, 2020 at 16:07

    WHO advice: there is currently no evidence that wearing a mask (whether medical or other types) by healthy persons in the wider community setting, including universal community masking, can prevent them from infection with respiratory viruses, including Covid-19. The science is clear -masks are NOT effective.
  • Posted by Pipkins October 11, 2020 at 20:45

    There has been more and more evidence coming out in the last few month that face masks are VERY effective, depending on the type of mask. But even cheap, disposable masks have been shown to be very effective.

    As well as the University of Edinburgh study above, here is another powerful recommendation for universal face mask usage:

    The above poster is probably looking at advice from WHO in the spring when they said there wasn't much evidence on face masks. They changed that advice in June. This is from a BBC article:

    "The World Health Organization (WHO) has changed its advice on face masks, saying they should be worn in public where social distancing is not possible to help stop the spread of coronavirus. The global body said new information showed they could provide "a barrier for potentially infectious droplets".

    And here is the current advice on wearing masks from the WHO:

    This is not really under debate now as the evidence is so strong.
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