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I'm a retired renal consultant with some knowledge about infection control, PPE, and barrier nursing. I would like to suggest in the strongest terms that we make the wearing of masks in public compulsory, or at least strongly advised. Failure to do this represents a capitulation to the historical hegemony of the randomised controlled trial and the (arbitrary ) probability value of p<0.05. The evidence is described as "weak". But in fact the relevant experiment has never been done and never will be. Are we really going to take 100 patients with Covid19 and get them to cough and sneeze towards healthy volunteers, with and without a face mask, and see which group catch the virus more easily? Any other evidence is always going to be indirect and "weak". In this case, it is simple logic that a physical barrier is almost certain to reduce the distance over which water droplets containing the virus are transferred. Simple face masks can be purchased on Amazon and elsewhere for a few pounds. They are not the kind being sold to the NHS, care homes etc. In every country which has controlled the virus, the wearing of such face masks is the norm. Why should the UK be different? We are prolonging the outbreak in the unjustified fear that there will not be enough masks to go round.

Why the contribution is important

There is a paradox inherent in the current hue and cry about the shortage of PPE, and the total reliance which is placed on it by those in contact with cases of Covid19, and the willingness to let members of the public walk around outside, visit shops etc without the most basic form of personal protection. Please, please stop waiting for "the perfect evidence" and give in to common sense. There is no downside to wearing a mask. It is not a drug, yet the same standards of evidence are being asked for as for a new drug. The population are absolutely intelligent enough to understand that they must still observe social distancing exactly as before.

by allancumming on May 06, 2020 at 08:40PM

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