Why has wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 become such a big deal with some people?

PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

Wear a sodding mask! It’s not all about you! If you don’t want to wear a mask to protect yourself, then do it for others who are less robust than you. There are people out there fighting pre-existing conditions whose lives are already a struggle.  The last thing they want is to contract COVID-19.  If they do, the probability is that they won’t survive it.  Do you really want that on your conscious? Is that really YOUR CHOICE?  So, get over it!  Wear a sodding mask!

By March 2020, our lives started to change as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world.  We needed to change, in order to survive. During Lockdown, a minority persisted to flout the rules, including a few individuals who made ‘the rules’ in the first place.  People I have a total lack of respect for.

In the wake of a few spikes around the UK, and more COVID-19 deaths, taking the UK’s shameful total to 46,193, the law states that you have to wear masks.  And unless you want to be added to that total, wear a sodding mask!

When and where should you wear a mask?

  • on public transport
  • indoor transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
  • shops and supermarkets (places which are open to the public and that wholly or mainly offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • indoor shopping centres
  • banks, building societies, and post offices (including credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses)

You are expected to wear a face-covering immediately before entering any of these settings and must keep your mask on until you leave.

You’ll be expected to wear a mask from 8 August 2020 at

  • funeral directors
  • premises providing professional, legal or financial services
  • cinemas
  • theatres
  • bingo halls
  • concert halls
  • museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, or other indoor tourist heritage or cultural sites.
  • nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers – other than where necessary to remove for treatments
  • massage parlours
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • place of worship
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • community centres
  • social clubs
  • tattoo and piercing parlours
  • indoor entertainment venues (amusement arcades, funfairs, adventure activities e.g. laser quest, go-karting, escape rooms, heritage sites etc)
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • veterinary services.
  • auction houses

You can read the full UK Government rules and recommendations here.

But some people still don’t understand the rationale behind wearing masks. It’s not exactly rocket science to work out why.  There have there been COVID-19 spikes since 5th July 2020 when the pubs reopened, with mass gatherings such as this one.

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So why is wearing a mask considered to be an inconvenience?  It’s such a simple precaution after all.  I do get it.  No-one likes to be told how they should live their lives. No-one has the right to tell you how to live your life, but at the same time, you should thinking of the lives of other people.

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PHOTO CREDIT:  SKY NEWS Unmasked:  Anti-mask activists in London 20th July 2020.

The anti-mask activists say they are not “anti-masks” but “pro-choice”, and their choice is not to wear a mask. Clare Wills-Harrison, one of the organisers, said the demonstrators were “campaigning for the return of our rights and liberties”.  Hopefully, their supporters suffering from asthma, MS or those whose immune systems are suppressed, stayed at home.

Just consider for a moment. What if you are asymptomatic?  You feel fine. You’re not displaying any physical signs of COVID-19. So you carry on with life as normal. You’ve been meeting up with friends, you’ve been to the pub, or a restaurant, unaware you’ve been infected with COVID-19.  How many people do you think you might you have infected?  So what is the problem with wearing a mask, just in case you are asymptomatic?

For some people, part of the problem has been the lack of scientific evidence in support of wearing masks.  It has been sketchy, but not any more.

On the 8th July 2020, the University of Oxford published an article about a new study carried out by Oxford’s Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science:

Cloth face coverings, even homemade masks made of the correct material, are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 – for the wearer and those around them. 

Their study found:

  • Cloth face coverings are effective in protecting the wearer and those around them.
  • Behavioural factors are involved, including how people understand the virus and their perceptions of risk, trust in experts and government, can adversely affect mask-wearing
  • Face masks need to be seen as part of ‘policy packages’ with other measures such as social distancing and hand hygiene.
  • Clear and consistent policies and public messaging are key to the adoption of wearing face masks and coverings by the general public.

The general public does not need to wear surgical masks or respirators. We find that masks made from high quality material such as high-grade cotton, multiple layers and particularly hybrid constructions are effective.

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If you don’t want to wear a mask to protect yourself, then do it for others who are less robust than you. There are people out there fighting pre-existing conditions whose lives are already a struggle.  The last thing they want is to contract COVID-19.  If they do, the probability is that they won’t survive it.  Do you really want that on your conscious? Do you really want that on your conscious? So, get over it!  Wear a sodding mask!

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