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The case for and against the effectiveness of face coverings and the mandating of their use

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AlterEgo

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https://twitter.com/richdavisphd/status/1276629364067536897 This is a visual (but non scientific) demonstration of the benefit of masks. Social distancing is more effective, but where it isn't possible a mask has benefits, have you tried spitting with one on?

The virus particles don't travel on their own, they travel on droplets of water in your breath.

There is a big difference between that ad-hoc scientific demonstration of one professional scientist and what happens when you make something *public policy*.

Most people who wear masks do so incorrectly and without the hygiene controls for them to be properly effective. Most people are not sneezing or coughing into other people's faces, but they are using masks as - what they believe to be - protection when dealing with people face to face, talking to them, and socialising. However, you can see from that study there's quite a lot of droplet transmission even through a disposable clinical mask, and that's only from a single minute of talking to someone!

Aerosol transmission is still not especially well understood by anyone, so the only thing we can have a look at is the effect on cases in England. Since the mask mandate was lifted, the case number has fallen significantly every single day, and we are now 10 days into "no mask" policy and still the cases keep on falling. Masks were made mandatory on 14 July 2020 a date which saw pretty much record low cases at the time, yet cases rose afterwards, the masks didn't protect us from a severe second or third case wave.

Banning something, or mandating it, does not always produce the expected outcomes, even if you can replicate a physical demonstration in a one-off study.
 
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At present, with 10s of people still dying a day and not all adults able to have been double vaccinated (including myself for another week and a bit), keeping a bit of cloth over my face that causes me no bother whatsoever doesn't seem unreasonable.
Perhaps now might not be a good time to point out that said bit of cloth offers you absolutely stuff all in terms of protection.
 

Bikeman78

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I was referring to the blue disposable ones to be found polluting the urban landscape, waters and countryside.
I pick up roughly one per week from my front garden. Admittedly I live close to a bus stop.
 

Freightmaster

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I fail to see how asking people to be considerate can be seen as imposing authoritarianism. I think some people are getting a bit carried away now and reading too much into things. Wearing a mask hurts absolutely nobody, it's a piece of fabric on your face, no different from a hat on your head or a scarf round your neck. It's an inanimate object and does nothing to hurt anyone.
Really?? o_O

The difference is that shops don't have passive-aggressive posters on their doors asking people to wear a hat or a scarf
"out of consideration for others" - it's this subtle but highly effective coercion which is the reason for the many posters
on this forum accusing rail/bus/retail companies of being authoritarian; rightly or wrongly, the message comes across
as "feel free to refuse to wear a mask, but if you do, please understand that you are being inconsiderate/selfish towards
our other customers"


What I really what to know is why pubs, cafes, hotels, tourists attractions, etc have dropped the mask rhetoric entirely,
but shops are still as keen as ever - why are shops still 'encouraging' their use but hospitality isn't??





MARK
 

bramling

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Exactly.

But we all know it's really about imposing authoritarianism rather than any scientific reason.


This isn't scientific, as you say. It's theoretical.

The question is actually whether standard flimsy masks are effective at preventing transmission.

FFP2/3 masks do prevent virus particles from spreading, I agree.

However the standard flimsy loose-fitting masks that complied with mask mandates do not, according to a member of SAGE:




Robert Dingwall, who is a member of Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M), which reports to Sage, stated:


A study, reported in this BBC article, found flimsy loose fitting masks did not protect against Sars-CoV-2 infection, whereas FFP3 masks did:



The study found high levels of infection with standard masks, which was 47 times higher than when effective masks were worn. Obviously we don't have a 'control group' with no masks, but the results are very damning for the standard, flimsy surgical masks.



In some locations the majority are, but in most locations people generally are not, but that's for another thread



But it's extremely slim, and dropping all the time.

Given the vast majority of the population has had the chance to be fully vaccinated and those who aren't, are generally younger people with good innate immune systems, the small minority of people who want additional protection can make that choice.

Trying to dictate that others wear a standard, flimsy loose fitting mask which does not filter virus particles, does not stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2, and therefore is utterly pointless.

All it does is divide society and make things difficult for people with hidden disabilities, particularly those who are hard of hearing.


Indeed people used to wear masks when walking around pubs/restaurants, but now generally do not.


Exactly what it is, emotional blackmail.

The point about emotional blackmail is well made, indeed it’s been one of the objectionable themes we’ve seen right through this - a low point being when politicians and prominent public figures have openly encouraged people to pile shame on others.

Perhaps I’m untypical, but I respond badly to it. I prefer to work with facts and evidence, so I would be more sympathetic to the idea of wearing a mask if someone could provide a shred of evidence that they actually have some benefit. The moment we’re reduced to nonsense like “out of consideration for others” then one is immediately entitled to be suspicious of the motives.

Much as I dislike conspiracies, I think the view prevalent here that masks are a form of authoritarianism are spot on.
 

Green tractor

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we are now 10 days into "no mask" policy and still the cases keep on falling.

If you look at the day on day numbers they are now rising fast again, the 7 day average still shows a fall.
What I really what to know is why pubs, cafes, hotels, tourists attractions, etc have dropped the mask rhetoric entirely,
but shops are still as keen as ever - why are shops still 'encouraging' their use but hospitality isn't??





MARK


Nobody has to visit a pub/cafe etc but they do have to visit shops. Those of who are remaining cautious are not going into pubs at the moment.
Over a hundred billion of them being discarded monthly with zero plan on how to deal with it. No talk about the plastic contained even in disposable mask and zero plan for recycling.

The fact that nobody seems to give a toss is frightening considering the huge push in the last few years about things such as plastic in the oceans killing our planet. Doesn't matter now because Covid.

I use washable 3 layer fabric ones and simply put then in with the rest of the washing, I agree on the discarded disposable ones, people should of been encouraged to get washable ones.
 

bramling

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There is a big difference between that ad-hoc scientific demonstration of one professional scientist and what happens when you make something *public policy*.

Most people who wear masks do so incorrectly and without the hygiene controls for them to be properly effective. Most people are not sneezing or coughing into other people's faces, but they are using masks as - what they believe to be - protection when dealing with people face to face, talking to them, and socialising. However, you can see from that study there's quite a lot of droplet transmission even through a disposable clinical mask, and that's only from a single minute of talking to someone!

Aerosol transmission is still not especially well understood by anyone, so the only thing we can have a look at is the effect on cases in England. Since the mask mandate was lifted, the case number has fallen significantly every single day, and we are now 10 days into "no mask" policy and still the cases keep on falling. Masks were made mandatory on 14 July 2020 a date which saw pretty much record low cases at the time, yet cases rose afterwards, the masks didn't protect us from a severe second or third case wave.

Banning something, or mandating it, does not always produce the expected outcomes, even if you can replicate a physical demonstration in a one-off study.

I really don’t get why some people remain so keen on masks given that since they came in we’ve had two further waves.
 

Richard Scott

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If you look at the day on day numbers they are now rising fast again, the 7 day average still shows a fall.
No, they rose today, the first day for ages there has been a significant rise so numbers are not rising fast again. If this had happened for a number of consecutive days then I would accept that but they haven't; you should write headlines for the media!
 

Dent

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If you look at the day on day numbers they are now rising fast again, the 7 day average still shows a fall.
Are you comparing figures day to day? Have you really still not realised that they're is a weekly fluctuation in testing and the relevant comparison is to the same day last week?

No, they rose today, the first day for ages there has been a significant rise so numbers are not rising fast again. If this had happened for a number of consecutive days then I would accept that but they haven't; you should write headlines for the media!
They didn't rise today, they fell again compared to last Thursday. You are misreading the statistics if your are comparing day to day.
 

yorkie

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If you look at the day on day numbers they are now rising fast again, the 7 day average still shows a fall.
It's far too early to claim cases are rising again.

That said, we would expect a rise due to an increase in social interactions, although this should be at least partly countered by increasing population immunity.

If an increase occurs it will be due to increased social interactions, including nightclubs etc and not due to fewer people wearing face coverings.

Nobody has to visit a pub/cafe etc but they do have to visit shops. Those of who are remaining cautious are not going into pubs at the moment.
Pubs and restaurants seem no less busy than normal, when I visit them. I guess you will put all sorts of other businesses into that category, which begs the question over how many people are "remaining cautious" and why do you think so many people are distrusting of the effectiveness of vaccines?

It seems very odd that some people are so distrusting of vaccines yet put so much faith in trying to get others to wear flimsy loose fitting masks while declining the option of wearing effective masks.

It makes no logical sense.
I use washable 3 layer fabric ones and simply put then in with the rest of the washing, I agree on the discarded disposable ones, people should have been encouraged to get washable ones.
Do you wear them in accordance with the guidelines meaning you would wear multiple masks per day, and storing them properly when not in use and sanitising hands when handling the masks?

Even if you go to all this palaver, the reality is most people do not, and they get reused multiple times, not stored or handled correctly etc.

I'm also not convinced fabric masks are that environmentally friendly; they still have a limited life span, especially if replacing/washing them as frequently as recommended.
 

TPO

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You really cant accept the reality can you. Most people are still wearing masks and they are doing it to protect other people not themselvs.

Ffp 3 masks protect the wearer however they have a valve in which means the air leaves at a higher pressure and therefore travels further meaning if you are asymptomatic you are more likely to infect those around you. They also drip moisture from the valve. They are quite tiring to wear for long periods as they make breathing slightly more difficult. I'm a welder, I wear them at work

Any mask which inhibits viral particles and is fitted correctly will be tiring to wear and breathe through. The disposable FFP3 masks are not for wearing for long, a filtering half mask is next step up and generally don't drip moisture from the valve. Then we're into the next level of powered air fed hoods or powered masks.

A face covering which can be worn by many people for a while is easier to wear as the holes are bigger and is not a face fit. Which is why it's basically useless at stopping viruses- marbles being stopped by a scaffold.

There's no such thing as a free lunch with RPE I'm afraid.

Face coverings are a psychological prop. By all means wear one if it makes you feel better, but pls don't try to force or "encourage" (through social pressure) anyone else to.

TPO
 

Richard Scott

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They didn't rise today, they fell again compared to last Thursday. You are misreading the statistics if your are comparing day to day.
Was comparing to yesterday but if my information wrong then good news!
 

TPO

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I fail to see how asking people to be considerate can be seen as imposing authoritarianism. I think some people are getting a bit carried away now and reading too much into things. Wearing a mask hurts absolutley nobody, it's a piece of fabric on your face, no different from a hat on your head or a scarf round your neck. It's an inanimate object and does nothing to hurt anyone.

Not true, mask mandates cause a range of harm as others have outlined.

I am curious as to why you are so keen for the visible symbol of compliance to remain, do you have a health anxiety or does the visible social control comfort you?

I am genuinely intrigued by the emotional attachment of some folks to a symbol to the extent that they resort to emotional blackmail to maintain a compliance that does nothing useful yet causes harm to people and the environment.

TPO
 

BJames

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You really cant accept the reality can you. Most people are still wearing masks and they are doing it to protect other people not themselvs.

Ffp 3 masks protect the wearer however they have a valve in which means the air leaves at a higher pressure and therefore travels further meaning if you are asymptomatic you are more likely to infect those around you. They also drip moisture from the valve. They are quite tiring to wear for long periods as they make breathing slightly more difficult. I'm a welder, I wear them at work
Depends what setting you're in.

Was on London Overground the other day and would estimate compliance at around 20% at 1:30pm. More like 70% in evening peak. Victoria line probably nearer to 90%. Mainline LNWR from Euston 50/50, but decreased as journey time went on. Please note that if you've had a different experience that's fine, but this was my experience. It is just to say that there are many situations in which people wearing masks are either a small majority or even a minority.

I would disagree that "most people" are still wearing masks. But I think on the whole the above actually shows exactly why mandating is not the way to go. I agree with those that have suggested that they are not more than a psychological prop, but they become even LESS worthwhile on a late night intercity journey where there is maybe you and one other in the carriage.

I fail to see how asking people to be considerate can be seen as imposing authoritarianism. I think some people are getting a bit carried away now and reading too much into things. Wearing a mask hurts absolutley nobody, it's a piece of fabric on your face, no different from a hat on your head or a scarf round your neck. It's an inanimate object and does nothing to hurt anyone.
Typical argument. "It doesn't bother me so it shouldn't bother you either". It's funny how you're talking about being considerate...
Over a hundred billion of them being discarded monthly with zero plan on how to deal with it. No talk about the plastic contained even in disposable mask and zero plan for recycling.

The fact that nobody seems to give a toss is frightening considering the huge push in the last few years about things such as plastic in the oceans killing our planet. Doesn't matter now because Covid.
Good point, one which is usually ignored by those pushing mandates.
 

Bikeman78

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Depends what setting you're in.

Was on London Overground the other day and would estimate compliance at around 20% at 1:30pm. More like 70% in evening peak. Victoria line probably nearer to 90%. Mainline LNWR from Euston 50/50, but decreased as journey time went on. Please note that if you've had a different experience that's fine, but this was my experience. It is just to say that there are many situations in which people wearing masks are either a small majority or even a minority.

I would disagree that "most people" are still wearing masks. But I think on the whole the above actually shows exactly why mandating is not the way to go. I agree with those that have suggested that they are not more than a psychological prop, but they become even LESS worthwhile on a late night intercity journey where there is maybe you and one other in the carriage.
A lot of it is down to force of habit. Last summer there was no vaccine but far fewer people were wearing them in places where they were not mandatory.
 

Class320

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Not true, mask mandates cause a range of harm as others have outlined.

I am curious as to why you are so keen for the visible symbol of compliance to remain, do you have a health anxiety or does the visible social control comfort you?

I am genuinely intrigued by the emotional attachment of some folks to a symbol to the extent that they resort to emotional blackmail to maintain a compliance that does nothing useful yet causes harm to people and the environment.

TPO

In all honesty, I couldn't care less if they stay or go. To me, it's literally just a bit of fabric that you wear on your face and that's it. If I'm in a situation where I'm being asked to wear it, I'll wear it and If I don't have to wear it I won't, simple as that.

The way some people act on here it's as if they think if they don't wear them they'll be rounded up and sent to jail for not wearing one.

If I was exempt and was called out by some random pleb for not wearing one, they'd be quite simply, in my broad Glaswegian accent, told where to go and what to do with themselves.
 

bramling

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In all honesty, I couldn't care less if they stay or go. To me, it's literally just a bit of fabric that you wear on your face and that's it. If I'm in a situation where I'm being asked to wear it, I'll wear it and If I don't have to wear it I won't, simple as that.

The way some people act on here it's as if they think if they don't wear them they'll be rounded up and sent to jail for not wearing one.

If I was exempt and was called out by some random pleb for not wearing one, they'd be quite simply, in my broad Glaswegian accent, told where to go and what to do with themselves.

The matter might be okay the first few times, but do you not think you’d get fed up with that after a while? Whilst it has been for the main dirty looks and under-the-breath comments, there’s been occasions where the police have overstepped the mark, as well as scenes like the pair of hostile staff in the Nisa.

All this fuss over something which doesn’t even do much good if any.
 

takno

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If I was exempt and was called out by some random pleb for not wearing one, they'd be quite simply, in my broad Glaswegian accent, told where to go and what to do with themselves.
So you have an accent that you understand can be quite intimidating and aren't afraid to use it. That's great for you - other people have very good reasons for being more conflict-averse. As with the experience of wearing the masks themselves you appear to be taking your feelings and experiences of the world and imagining they must be the same for everybody else.

A lot of people who are exempt from mask wearing are starting from a position of exhaustion and/or anxiety. Dealing with the risk or actuality of having this kind of interaction can quite easily take up all the energy or resilience they have for the rest of the day. It makes leaving the house more trouble than it's worth
 

Cowley

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Masks are a busted flush. It’ll probably take a while for some people to accept it, but that’s where we (rightly in my opinion) are.
It’s time to move on and concentrate on what we know definitely works.
 

Freightmaster

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Masks are a busted flush. It’ll probably take a while for some people to accept it, but that’s where we (rightly in my opinion) are.
It’s time to move on and concentrate on what we know definitely works.
Amen to that!




MARK
 

bramling

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Masks are a busted flush. It’ll probably take a while for some people to accept it, but that’s where we (rightly in my opinion) are.
It’s time to move on and concentrate on what we know definitely works.

Right on. It really, really, is time to move on now. This whole affair has done enough damage as it is.

I properly don't get why (some) people are still obsessing over masks now. Anyone who wants a vaccine has now had the opportunity to give themselves an adequate level of protection. One can only surmise that (some) people simply don't want this to end, for nefarious reasons.

Some of the nasty effects of all this are really beginning to bit now, notably inflation, why people would want any of this to continue is completely beyond me. Do they not realise that their comfy suburban work-from-home lifestyles won't be sustainable if the country goes bust?
 

yorksrob

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Masks are a busted flush. It’ll probably take a while for some people to accept it, but that’s where we (rightly in my opinion) are.
It’s time to move on and concentrate on what we know definitely works.

Spot on.
 

Yew

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Maybe in your corner of Lancashire. However my early experience over the last couple of weeks is that mask wearing is starting to drop off, and it is now not unusual to see people in shops, & on train and buses without masks. Even staff are starting to dispense with them.

Perhaps you shouldn't assume that what you see locally is replicated elsewhere?
I was at the SnowDome in Tamworth, and I don't think I saw a single person with a mask on.

If you look at the day on day numbers they are now rising fast again, the 7 day average still shows a fall.
In line with standard weekly fluctuations, so that's somewhat of a non-comment.
 

Bantamzen

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I use washable 3 layer fabric ones and simply put then in with the rest of the washing, I agree on the discarded disposable ones, people should of been encouraged to get washable ones.
But do you use them correctly? I.E. do you sanitise before putting them on, replace them if you touch them once & at least every four hours, making sure of course to sanitise before changing? If not, you are reducing any perceivable benefits, and that's before you actually consider if fabric ones are even in the least bit effective in the first place. It doesn't matter how many layers they are made of, if the gaps between the fabric weaves are large enough to allow droplets containing the active viruses through then they are doing very little at all. Even a member of SAGE has described some as "comfort blankets". I think that speaks volumes.
 

yorkie

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In all honesty, I couldn't care less if they stay or go. To me, it's literally just a bit of fabric that you wear on your face and that's it. If I'm in a situation where I'm being asked to wear it, I'll wear it and If I don't have to wear it I won't, simple as that.
Have you understood the difficulties mask present for some people?

Are you saying these difficulties should be disregarded or are you saying that the benefits of mass mask wearing are more important in your opinion?

The way some people act on here it's as if they think if they don't wear them they'll be rounded up and sent to jail for not wearing one.
In that case I don't think you are reading what we are actually saying.

If I was exempt and was called out by some random pleb for not wearing one, they'd be quite simply, in my broad Glaswegian accent, told where to go and what to do with themselves.
Great for you but if done on the railway, foul & abusive language is a Byelaw offence, so depending on how you say it, you could find yourself in a spot of bother.

Furthermore not everyone is able to challenge such behaviour.

And if you'd tried this on the Starcross ferry you'd have probably been threatened with being chucked overboard ( yes the people who run it, and their supporters, really are like that ).
 

stevetay3

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I fail to see how asking people to be considerate can be seen as imposing authoritarianism. I think some people are getting a bit carried away now and reading too much into things. Wearing a mask hurts absolutley nobody, it's a piece of fabric on your face, no different from a hat on your head or a scarf round your neck. It's an inanimate object and does nothing to hurt anyone.
It dam well does and as you. say its just a bit of fabric
 

Mugby

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One thing which has intrigued me during this whole saga has been the use of visors as an alternative to masks. A great many of the ones I've seen appear to be totally and utterly useless, some don't even extend low enough to cover the mouth but they are deemed to be acceptable, wear a visor and you tick a box, acceptable in shops, on public transport etc.

Much as I am anti-mask, I will concede that some people may feel safer wearing them but face visors seem to me to stop precisely nothing!
 

johnnychips

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Much as I am anti-mask, I will concede that some people may feel safer wearing them but face visors seem to me to stop precisely nothing!
If somebody sneezes or coughs at you, which probably doesn’t happen very often, it will deflect the full force. However, if you need to cough or sneeze, will you have enough time to whip the visor off and do it into a tissue or your elbow? If not it just flies out of the sides.
 

westv

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If somebody sneezes or coughs at you, which probably doesn’t happen very often, it will deflect the full force. However, if you need to cough or sneeze, will you have enough time to whip the visor off and do it into a tissue or your elbow? If not it just flies out of the sides.
And splatters the front of the visor. Uuuuurgh!!
 
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