Face coverings/masks – the jury is still out

Maybe we should use the word ‘coverings’ rather than ‘masks’ given masks have such negative connotations.

As ministers have given out mixed messages about them, it is now surprise that we, the public, are equally confused.

According to Sky News:

The official UK government guidance states that evidence around wearing a face covering suggests it “does not protect you” from coronavirus.

But the guidance adds: “If you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with.”

Some studies suggest even the most basic masks can help reduce disease transmission, and they do at least reduce the distance exhaled breath travels. There are suggestions that re-using masks without washing them is perhaps risky, and that many do not fit properly anyway. Many people (like me) struggle not to touch them. I have always been a ‘face toucher’ (my own) and it is a very difficult habit to get out of.

Had a couple of emails on the subject:

Jenny said:  I am an asthmatic  I use 2 inhalers and suffer panic attacks. What happens if I am refused entry into a shop? The website says I don’t have to wear one if it causes me severe distress, which it will. 

I directed Jenny to this from Asthma UK to keep on her phone. It is a problem for many severe asthma sufferers to cover their faces (one assumes they are taking great care anyway given their pre-existing condition).


Meanwhile, Linda said:

First of all, my question would be “why now?”. If this was going to be introduced,  it should have been done many weeks ago.  There have been many varying opinions on this subject. It was originally said that the use of masks was not advisable and even last week we were told by a health official that the incorrect use of masks was a real issue; for example, re-using masks,  handling them without washing hands afterwards. 
I understand that vulnerable people feel reassured by wearing masks, but for others I think it should be up to the individual as long as sensible distancing is observed. However that, too, is another issue with so many visitors in the area who may not be sensitive to the situation. 
I cannot imagine this will be easy to police. Even following the arrows on the streets seems impossible for most people, locals as well as visitors.  I guess it will come down to peer pressure in the end, with much more aggression on display. I have experienced several examples of “little Hitlers” in supermarkets. I know they feel vulnerable and most of them work quietly and respectfully but on one occasion I was yelled at for taking the wrong trolley (no signs to inform you whether they had been sanitised); it is not pleasurable to shop these days. With the added rule of wearing a mask,  my choice is to avoid shops wherever possible, which is surely counterproductive to getting business back up and running.
I really don’t want to wear a mask. I will do so if absolutely necessary: a visit to the hairdressers this afternoon was certainly not enjoyable, and for those of us who are hard of hearing, it makes it difficult to hear what people are saying.
All in all, not a great decision, one which will create even more division and aggression. 
And one final point, what is the difference between a shop and bars/cafés/restaurants? There are too many mixed messages. 
Your views remain welcome.  Email is budeandbeyond@gmail.com or you may comment here.

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