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Has the wearing of face masks become a left/right issue?

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Richard Scott

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My personal observation is that mask wearing in shops is divided more by education/social class than politics - with well educated English the most likely to wear them, and east Europeans (we have plenty of them here, despite Brexit) the least.
Probably the Eastern Europeans know of the history, or have experience, of authoritarian rule in their countries?
 
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greyman42

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I never wear a mask. I have had the virus and both vaccinations and have no fear of the virus. I wonder if the people wearing masks have never had the virus and have been taken in by the media who present it as a killer.
 

Ianno87

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I never wear a mask. I have had the virus and both vaccinations and have no fear of the virus. I wonder if the people wearing masks have never had the virus and have been taken in by the media who present it as a killer.

I wear masks and have no fear of the virus, and go about my business as normal. I do it because I don't find masks a big deal.

I sometimes don't wear a mask: e.g if the train is lightly loaded or I'm drinking/eating
 

Richard Scott

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I wear masks and have no fear of the virus, and go about my business as normal. I do it because I don't find masks a big deal.

I sometimes don't wear a mask: e.g if the train is lightly loaded or I'm drinking/eating
I don't wear one because there's no point. If someone is vulnerable they need to get an FFP3 mask as that's the only thing that will guarantee a good element of protection. Relying on others wearing flimsy bits of cloth is just foolhardy.
 

yorkie

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Not a problem in the EU. I just came back from Spain and Portugal after three weeks riding trains. Masks are required in both countries, everybody complies, and the trains are well used. Frankly I think the Spanish, residents of a bizarrely macho culture that still permits bullfighting as a cultural expression, would laugh at you if you started trying to tell them why certain British influencers get so exercised about masks.
A nice story but does not change my view.

After a week of returning to the UK I got a stinker of a cold. I can only conclude the masks must be doing something.
An FFP3 mask would stop virus transmission, yes. But to avoid viruses indefinitely would require indefinite wearing of FFP3 masks in all settings in which you were encountering other people. The longer you go without being exposed to any viruses, the worse your symptoms are likely to be when you do encounter the virus.
I venture to suggest that your conclusion may be erroneous: given that stinkers of colds are equally viciously doing the rounds in Wales, where the majority of people only have eyes on show in public places too.
Exactly! Pro-maskers do not like talking about Wales, though!
Interesting. When I was in Spain last month although masks were worn on public transport, they were certainly not worn with much diligence, often moved pulled down, covering only bits of the face. And in restaurants and bars it was only ever staff that tried to use them.
Good to hear; those who tried to change Western culture have failed.
I don't wear one because there's no point. If someone is vulnerable they need to get an FFP3 mask as that's the only thing that will guarantee a good element of protection. Relying on others wearing flimsy bits of cloth is just foolhardy.
Exactly; the argument used to be that vulnerable people couldn't wear effective masks because you couldn't get any availability, then we had to wait for them all to be fully vaccinated... and now? Their reasons have run out.

If someone feels the vaccine isn't sufficient for them, for whatever reason, they can choose to wear an effective mask rather than rambling on about how other people should wear masks.

For the authoritarians it's not about that though; it's all about virtue signalling and being seen to be wearing a mask. They do not like arguments that challenge their logic, because they have no logic.
 
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big_rig

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It is ten whole degrees warmer in Lisbon than London today, and seven degrees warmer in Barcelona, but yes it must be the masks which were responsible for not getting a cold. Crikey.
 

bramling

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A nice story but does not change my view.


An FFP3 mask would stop virus transmission, yes. But to avoid viruses indefinitely would require indefinite wearing of FFP3 masks in all settings in which you were encountering other people. The longer you go without being exposed to any viruses, the worse your symptoms are likely to be when you do encounter the virus.

Exactly! Pro-maskers do not like talking about Wales, though!

Good to hear; those who tried to change Western culture have failed.

Exactly; the argument used to be that vulnerable people couldn't wear effective masks because you couldn't get any availability, then we had to wait for them all to be fully vaccinated... and now? Their reasons have run out.

If someone feels the vaccine isn't sufficient for them, for whatever reason, they can choose to wear an effective mask rather than rambling on about how other people should wear masks.

For the authoritarians it's not about that though; it's all about virtue signalling and being seen to be wearing a mask. They do not like arguments that challenge their logic, because they have no logic.

There does seem to be an “other people should wear masks so I don’t catch a cold” mentality going round in some quarters.

Colds are a fact of life, and if people don’t want to catch one then they should stay indoors, but don’t expect the taxpayer to subsidise such an existence.
 

Ianno87

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There does seem to be an “other people should wear masks so I don’t catch a cold” mentality going round in some quarters.

Colds are a fact of life, and if people don’t want to catch one then they should stay indoors, but don’t expect the taxpayer to subsidise such an existence.

You won't like it, but some people wearing masks when they have a cold is here to stay, I reckon.

Don't worry:
1) Nobody will make you do it
2) This has absolutely nothing to do with furlough (I presume that is what your tangential subsidy point is about, given your broken-record-ness on it. If anything, if people choosing to wear a mask makes them want to go out and about witg their daily business rather than lounge at home, that's a good thing, right? Nobody would wear a mask *and* stay at home)
 

172007

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I never wear a mask. I have had the virus and both vaccinations and have no fear of the virus. I wonder if the people wearing masks have never had the virus and have been taken in by the media who present it as a killer.
Some people don't suffer from Covid when they get it just like some people break their arm get over it and say what the problem. Others have have complex break and suffer the rest of their life.
 

yorkie

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You won't like it, but some people wearing masks when they have a cold is here to stay, I reckon.

Don't worry:
1) Nobody will make you do it
2) This has absolutely nothing to do with furlough (I presume that is what your tangential subsidy point is about, given your broken-record-ness on it. If anything, if people choosing to wear a mask makes them want to go out and about witg their daily business rather than lounge at home, that's a good thing, right? Nobody would wear a mask *and* stay at home)
I doubt many people will do this.

But if many did, it would just delay the time at which we reach equilibrium in the model of seasonal endemic equilibrium, and if people wore effective FFP3 masks each winter and managed to reduce their exposure to common Coronaviruses and Rhinoviruses it would just make those people more ill when they did eventually get exposed. If they wore flimsy loose fitting masks it would make no difference to anything.
Some people don't suffer from Covid when they get it just like some people break their arm get over it and say what the problem. Others have have complex break and suffer the rest of their life.
That's not a valid comparison!

We naturally live with coronaviruses; once we have good prior adaptive immunity to them, then exposure to them will generally not result in an infection developing, but where one does occur it is extremely unlikely for it to be anything other than asymptomatic or mild.

We just need to build up the same level of immunity to Sars-CoV-2 which we already have with the likes of HCoV-OC43 (which likely caused a pandemic around 1889); vaccines are highly effective and are giving us a huge head start in what would otherwise be an entirely natural, but very slow process.

Thanks to vaccines we can now go back to normal lives; initial infections in a vaccinated (but not yet naturally infected) individual may be less pleasant than future infections, but will act as a very good booster.
 
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bramling

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You won't like it, but some people wearing masks when they have a cold is here to stay, I reckon.

Don't worry:
1) Nobody will make you do it
2) This has absolutely nothing to do with furlough (I presume that is what your tangential subsidy point is about, given your broken-record-ness on it. If anything, if people choosing to wear a mask makes them want to go out and about witg their daily business rather than lounge at home, that's a good thing, right? Nobody would wear a mask *and* stay at home)

I wasn’t referring to furlough as it happens (furlough is finished, and hopefully will stay that way). I think my point stands for itself - it’s simply unrealistic to expect to avoid getting a cold at some point during autumn and winter, so if - as seems to be the case with some people - they want to do that then it’s something *they* need to take responsibility for, which in practical terms means never venturing out.

I see no reason why the taxpayer should subsidise such a lifestyle choice, whether it be furlough, or via any other means of handout.

One could also argue that such an existence would be rather hypocritical for the vast bulk of the population, unless completely self-sufficient, as they would be relying on others to support elements of their lifestyle, not least delivery of food, use of health care, et cetera.
 
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duncanp

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You won't like it, but some people wearing masks when they have a cold is here to stay, I reckon.

Don't worry:
1) Nobody will make you do it
2) This has absolutely nothing to do with furlough (I presume that is what your tangential subsidy point is about, given your broken-record-ness on it. If anything, if people choosing to wear a mask makes them want to go out and about witg their daily business rather than lounge at home, that's a good thing, right? Nobody would wear a mask *and* stay at home)

If people want to wear a mask when they have a cold in future, that is fine by me.

I am sure we have all sat next to "that" person on the train who is sneezing and coughing all the time, and making no attempt to cover up.

Indeed if there is one good thing that happens as a consequence of COVID-19 it is an increased awareness of hygiene in public.

The issue is those people who want to make other asymptomatic people wear masks just so that they can "feel safe".
 

bramling

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If people want to wear a mask when they have a cold in future, that is fine by me.

I am sure we have all sat next to "that" person on the train who is sneezing and coughing all the time, and making no attempt to cover up.

Indeed if there is one good thing that happens as a consequence of COVID-19 it is an increased awareness of hygiene in public.

The issue is those people who want to make other asymptomatic people wear masks just so that they can "feel safe".

I’m happy if people simply cover their mouth in the way that has been accepted etiquette since the beginning of time.
 

duncanp

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I’m happy if people simply cover their mouth in the way that has been accepted etiquette since the beginning of time.

Or if people carry a mini bottle of hand sanitiser with them, so that if they sneeze or cough into their hands, they can clean them afterwards.

This will reduce the amount of infection that is transferred to common surfaces such as grab rails on a train or bus.
 

bramling

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Or if people carry a mini bottle of hand sanitiser with them, so that if they sneeze or cough into their hands, they can clean them afterwards.

This will reduce the amount of infection that is transferred to common surfaces such as grab rails on a train or bus.

Thought we now had Zoono taking care of that side of things!
 

Ianno87

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I wasn’t referring to furlough as it happens (furlough is finished, and hopefully will stay that way). I think my point stands for itself - it’s simply unrealistic to expect to avoid getting a cold at some point during autumn and winter, so if - as seems to be the case with some people - they want to do that then it’s something *they* need to take responsibility for, which in practical terms means never venturing out.

I agree, it is probably trying to evade the inevitable. But I was more thinking of people with a cold venturing out and wearing a mask to avoid spreading to others - not people trying to avoid catching a cold themselves.


I see no reason why the taxpayer should subsidise such a lifestyle choice, whether it be furlough, or via any other means of handout.

One could also argue that such an existence would be rather hypocritical for the vast bulk of the population, unless completely self-sufficient, as they would be relying on others to support elements of their lifestyle, not least delivery of food, use of health care, et cetera.

This part of your post appears to have nothing to do with anything on this topic, and more of a general rant.

I doubt many people will do this.

But if many did, it would just delay the time at which we reach equilibrium in the model of seasonal endemic equilibrium, and if people wore effective FFP3 masks each winter and managed to reduce their exposure to common Coronaviruses and Rhinoviruses it would just make those people more ill when they did eventually get exposed. If they wore flimsy loose fitting masks it would make no difference to anything.

I wasn't necessarily arguing it would be effective. But people will do it (a minority maybe, but I think we'll be seeing some people still using face masks for quite a few years to come).
 

bramling

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I agree, it is probably trying to evade the inevitable. But I was more thinking of people with a cold venturing out and wearing a mask to avoid spreading to others - not people trying to avoid catching a cold themselves.

This part of your post appears to have nothing to do with anything on this topic, and more of a general rant.

It’s the inference that it’s the responsibility of others to take mitigating measures which I find to be an unrealistic expectation.

This essentially leaves FFP3 masks, which for some reason don’t seem to have caught on (perhaps people don’t want to catch a cold, but not quite enough to spend money on an effective self-protecting mask?), or never venturing out. This then becomes a public issue should there be an expectation of this lifestyle choice being funded by others, which for many it simply would have to be.

It’s not like masks have proven particularly effective as a means of protection, on the contrary if anything. Just a convenient way for the government to make people feel that the Covid situation is the result of “other people”, and conveniently deflecting away from their own handling, or perhaps even the fact that realistically we as a species have come up against something which simply cannot be controlled to the extent we’d like, rather like lots of other things we’ve never been able to fully counteract - metal corroding, wood rotting, bad weather, etc.
 

Bantamzen

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It’s the inference that it’s the responsibility of others to take mitigating measures which I find to be an unrealistic expectation.
Exactly. All of a sudden our health seems to be the responsibility of everyone else, and damn them if they don't spend all their time worrying about us.
 

yorksrob

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Yes, mask wearing has absolutely become a political issue.

I was told by a friend that my not wearing a face covering on the train is a symbol of my rampant individualism.
 

yorkie

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Yes, mask wearing has absolutely become a political issue.

I was told by a friend that my not wearing a face covering on the train is a symbol of my rampant individualism.
I wonder if they realise what their wearing of a face covering is symbolic of?!

Perhaps they'd rather live in China....

It's a culture war alright and if it was me in this argument, that friend probably wouldn't be one for any longer.
 

big_rig

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Yes, mask wearing has absolutely become a political issue.

I was told by a friend that my not wearing a face covering on the train is a symbol of my rampant individualism.
I wonder whether your friend thinks nearly the entire Parliamentary Labour Party and membership were displaying ‘rampant individualism’ at their recent conference where there were no masks to be seen in indoor gatherings between people who do not normally meet, or whatever the term is. Including Mr Khan and Burnham enjoying the dance floor unmasked and undistanced. I guess the answer will be that it was fine because they showed their vaccine status, but that the plebs can’t do that, much the same way in which Boris Johnson’s Christmas childcare commitments were unique, or how Mr Cummings Barnard Castke trip represented a bespoke circumstance that the public were too stupid to use themselves.
 

takno

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A lot of political obsessives on twitter mainly on the left/centre left seem obsessed with masks from what I've seen. I am on the left as well but I sort of agree that it is possibly virtue signalling (or a misunderstanding about science) From my experience there's still 80-90% compliance across the board in Edinburgh in shops and on public transport. In England on the other hand in the shops I've been in a month ago in Whaley Bridge, Glossop and Hale Barns, it's predominantly the elderly who are universally wearing masks and little use of masks among everyone else.

Personally I didn't mind mask use in 2020 but I'm surprised people still believe in them in 2021. Personally in Edinburgh I wear the same old type of disposable mask on the bus but pull it down on the top deck. In England on the other hand I do not bother wearing masks at all in the shops.

I'm not sure what mask wearing is like in other countries. I was under the impression that Germany was pretty strict.
80-90% sounds about right to me. Aside from the "random" announcement being played just after I've got on the bus about half of the time, I've never noticed anybody even commenting on my lack of a mask there. Nobody seems to much care in shops anymore either, with compliance starting to drop a bit just from people forgetting and not being asked. I do quite often get asked in pubs, but I get the impression it's not done with any real conviction, and is more likely to suggest a poor relationship with the licensing committee than anything else. Either way a quick flash of the sunflower lanyard gives them the personal or legal reassurance that they need.

I still felt more comfortable in England where hardly anybody was even carrying a mask. Anybody getting angry about it in Leeds or the midlands would have basically looked demented given that they'd have been getting angry at the whole train

Obviously Scottish politics are a bit all over the place, with a lot (though not all) of the authoritarian left jumping ship from Labour to the SNP, and with the labour party being pretty anti-restriction compared to the national party. I'm not seeing a great deal of conviction anywhere though.

If the young and minorities such as LGBT are very slightly more inclined to wear masks, it's more likely to be a social confidence thing - people who are generally less confident than average and have spent the last 18 months getting their confidence battered rather than built up.
 

yorksrob

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I wonder if they realise what their wearing of a face covering is symbolic of?!

Perhaps they'd rather live in China....

It's a culture war alright and if it was me in this argument, that friend probably wouldn't be one for any longer.

I wonder whether your friend thinks nearly the entire Parliamentary Labour Party and membership were displaying ‘rampant individualism’ at their recent conference where there were no masks to be seen in indoor gatherings between people who do not normally meet, or whatever the term is. Including Mr Khan and Burnham enjoying the dance floor unmasked and undistanced. I guess the answer will be that it was fine because they showed their vaccine status, but that the plebs can’t do that, much the same way in which Boris Johnson’s Christmas childcare commitments were unique, or how Mr Cummings Barnard Castke trip represented a bespoke circumstance that the public were too stupid to use themselves.

We agreed to disagree, as there was not going to be a meeting of minds on the issue.
 

squizzler

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Yes, mask wearing has absolutely become a political issue.

I was told by a friend that my not wearing a face covering on the train is a symbol of my rampant individualism.
I have some sympathy with this view, even if I wouldn't necessary put it quite such strident terms. If we can't work with each other in a simple way like this, what hope do we have in terms of dealing with the climate emergency?

I don't understand why all these social media influencers and other pundits bang on about how terrible masks are. We also keep hearing that many of the same sort of people don't trust vaccines. Whilst nobody really thinks they are used to inject tracking microchips into the bloodstream or rubbish like that, one can sympathise with the opinion that these are sophisticated products that have by necessity had to be rushed onto the market. So you think that a simple bit of fabric with straps that could be sewn together in a WI "stitch and bitch" meet-up would meet with their approval. Apparently not. As I understand it, vaccines are not trusted because they rely on science beyond the understanding of a lay-person, masks are not trusted because they seem too simple. What is the solution?

You might assume that being able to manage virus transmission via a simple piece of cloth would be celebrated as an excellent way to avoid "totalitarian" measures such as stay-at-home orders or vaccine passports.
 

yorksrob

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I have some sympathy with this view, even if I wouldn't necessary put it quite such strident terms. If we can't work with each other in a simple way like this, what hope do we have in terms of dealing with the climate emergency?

I don't understand why all these social media influencers and other pundits bang on about how terrible masks are. We also keep hearing that many of the same sort of people don't trust vaccines. Whilst nobody really thinks they are used to inject tracking microchips into the bloodstream or rubbish like that, one can sympathise with the opinion that these are sophisticated products that have by necessity had to be rushed onto the market. So you think that a simple piece of cloth that could be sewn together in a WI "stitch and bitch" meet-up would meet with their approval. Apparently not.

You might assume that being able to manage virus transmission via a simple piece of cloth would be celebrated as an excellent way to avoid "totalitarian" measures such as stay-at-home orders or vaccine passports.

I think that if you're a regular passenger on trains, such a thing was always going to be more of an imposition than to someone who is not.

By contrast having a vaccine every half year or so is a doddle and had been proven to be effective.

My position has always been that I've been prepared to wear the thing for a short while to get the country out of a fix, but won't countenance it as a permanent change.
 

Cdd89

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We also keep hearing that many of the same sort of people don't trust vaccines. …One can sympathise with the opinion that these are sophisticated products that have by necessity had to be rushed onto the market
With 90% uptake for first doses in the over 40s, such people are at most 10% of the population. Maybe some people have been vaccinated unwillingly but equally some of those unvaccinated won’t be because they distrust vaccines.

Conversely those who wear masks (and therefore don’t trust a vaccine that has reduced the risks of COVID in this group to be in line with illnesses we previously accepted) are closer to 30%; I view this as a bigger problem.

The good news is that both groups combined still represent the minority.
 

yorkie

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I have some sympathy with this view, even if I wouldn't necessary put it quite such strident terms. If we can't work with each other in a simple way like this, what hope do we have in terms of dealing with the climate emergency?
Let's stay on topic but let's be realistic, people like you and me are not going to work together in a simple way because we have such fundamentally different views.

I've done my research and am ready to debunk your claims; if one day you do research of your own and are prepared to agree with me, that would be great, but I am not expecting that to be a likely outcome.

I don't understand why all these social media influencers and other pundits bang on about how terrible masks are. We also keep hearing that many of the same sort of people don't trust vaccines.
I don't understand why all these social media influencers and other pundits bang on about how wonderful masks are. Why don't these sort of people trust vaccines?

...a simple bit of fabric with straps that could be sewn together in a WI "stitch and bitch" meet-up would meet with their approval...
Such masks only meet the approval of virtue signallers.

Apparently not. As I understand it, vaccines are not trusted because they rely on science beyond the understanding of a lay-person, masks are not trusted because they seem too simple. What is the solution?
The solution is reaching endemic equilibrium through high levels of immunity in the community. Vaccines are a massive help and takeup of the vaccine among adults in the UK is around 90%; clearly the vast majority trust vaccines. Similarly around 90% of the population are unmasked (depending on the setting; if I shop at a time elderly non-working people shop it can be 60%+ masked but in a hospitality venue it is usually 100% unmasked; at my workplace around 99% of people are unmasked)


Masks are not a solution for anything; flimsy loose fitting masks do not filter aerosol particles and therefore do not stop virus transmission. Effective FFP3 masks do work but are only really suitable in specific settings and/or for specific groups of people e.g. immunocompromised may wish to wear them.

You might assume that being able to manage virus transmission via a simple piece of cloth would be celebrated as an excellent way to avoid "totalitarian" measures such as stay-at-home orders or vaccine passports.
A simple piece of cloth does not reduce transmission; it's also a false dichotomy as there is no need for any such orders with our without flimsy masks.

My position has always been that I've been prepared to wear the thing for a short while to [ostensibly] get the country out of a fix, but won't countenance it as a permanent change.
You missed the word ostensibly in there! ;)

Other than that, I agree. I went along with it while it was legally mandated until 19th July, despite knowing that it made no difference whatsoever. But I'm not going back to wearing one. No way. Enough is enough.
 

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It's a culture war alright and if it was me in this argument, that friend probably wouldn't be one for any longer.
I thought the "culture war" was a trope used by Pat Buchanan, a US the early '90s, no? He ran for president and I remember one of the teachers warning of the danger such people represent at my school (here in UK).

If there is one occurring now, I do not understand why this forum is the theatre of combat. I feel this forum has become a shadow of its former self and anyone starting from the rail specific parts increasingly find themselves in a hotbed of conspiracy theories, contrarianism and other nonsense. It is especially disappointing that one of the main moderators - whilst entitled to opinions outside their moderation duties - has been instrumental in creating this environment.
 

abn444

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I thought the "culture war" was a trope used by Pat Buchanan, a US the early '90s, no? He ran for president and I remember one of the teachers warning of the danger such people represent at my school (here in UK).

If there is one occurring now, I do not understand why this forum is the theatre of combat. I feel this forum has become a shadow of its former self and anyone starting from the rail specific parts increasingly find themselves in a hotbed of conspiracy theories, contrarianism and other nonsense. It is especially disappointing that one of the main moderators - whilst entitled to opinions outside their moderation duties - has been instrumental in creating this environment.
What conspiracy theories are you talking about? Pointing out that there's zero real world evidence to say that masks make any difference isn't a conspiracy
 

VauxhallandI

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I was at a Billy Bragg concert on Friday night and he has politicised masks.

I won’t be returning to Scotland having had to show a Mengele passport for the first time and I won’t be going to see Billy Bragg for sometime if at all again.

The hypocrisy of the crown whooping when the majority of them were not wearing a mask is as funny as the Labour annual conference
 
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