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Facemasks for general population 'no scientific evidence'

(36 Posts)
GrumpiestOldWoman Mon 13-Apr-20 20:02:23

Many countries seem to be moving towards recommending face masks, not just those in Asia.

The UK government says there's no scientific evidence. However presumably you could set a really high bar on what constitutes evidence (rather than work with sensible extrapolation of what we do know) to avoid telling the public that they'd be better to be wearing masks at this time when their inability to provide PPE to medical and caring staff is well known?

I'm not clear masks prevent you catching covid 19 but it they prevent the other person transmitting it then that's virtually the same thing and masks - were these available - should only cost pennies.

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Tinyhumansurvivalist Mon 13-Apr-20 20:06:43

The specialist on the briefing tonight was saying that they cause people to touch their faces more, they become too easily saturated by moisture (spit) and therefore could actually increase the risk of contracting it especially if they are not medical grade.

Frankly I would sooner whatever stocks are available were reserved for those who actually have no choice but to be in close proximity to others like front line NHS staff, home carers etc rather than being handed out to Joe public. Especially where there is no emphatic evidence that they actually help protect the general population

GrumpiestOldWoman Mon 13-Apr-20 20:10:58

I definitely agree that frontline care staff should have priority. I guess what I'm trying to articulate is a suspicion that 'science' might be adaptable to suit the preferred message rather than being as clear cut as we might believe.

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Amber0685 Mon 13-Apr-20 20:15:36

I think the problem is we don't have enough ppe.

CricketCrocket Mon 13-Apr-20 20:19:28

I think the only reason they haven’t advised everyone to wear a mask when they leave the house is because there’s a shortage of PPE for frontline staff as it is.

Pookah83 Tue 14-Apr-20 05:06:12

The Surgeon General of the USA posted a video on how to make a DIY mask. New Jersey is requiring face coverings in order to enter stores. I think the advice about masks in the west is definitely shifting.

WhateverHappenedToBathPearls Tue 14-Apr-20 05:14:04

I think the only reason they haven’t advised everyone to wear a mask when they leave the house is because there’s a shortage of PPE for frontline staff as it is

This is quite possible. And science is almost never clear cut, especially the early stages of research.

blablablablablablabla Tue 14-Apr-20 05:24:10

This is the US CDCs advice -

Here is the Indian government advice -

I too think the UK approach is about preserving PPE for frontline staff and non medical public not being trusted to wear and launder a mask without cross contamination.

Nature1nurture Tue 14-Apr-20 05:25:48*@Cancerwarrior*/covid-19-why-we-should-all-wear-masks-there-is-new-scientific-rationale-280e08ceee71

Shitsgettingcrazy Tue 14-Apr-20 06:19:12

They are talking about it now.

They are saying medical grade ones only are any use.

They are also saying that actually they can make people complacent. People subconsciously, touch it alot to adjust it, wash hands less, become less stringent about social distancing, dont take it off in the right way, dont change then often enough.

Safety equipment often does make people complacent.

I saw a woman driving the other day, with it pulled down covering her chin. Not her mouth and nose. Why she didnt take it off, properly, I dont know. They did say if it makes you feel better, wear one. However you need to follow the guidance, handled it correctly and still keep up the guidlines.

Theres still no further, scientific, evidence.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow1 Tue 14-Apr-20 07:01:44

If they are unnecessary why are all healthcare staff wearing them and why are the government on TV saying that they are working hard to get PPE out to people?

Shitsgettingcrazy Tue 14-Apr-20 07:31:23

Wearing them in a healthcare setting is completely different to wearing them going shopping.

Even outside pandemic, you cant compare the 2 situations.

NotEverythingIsBlackandwhite Tue 14-Apr-20 07:39:13

Wearing them in a healthcare setting is completely different to wearing them going shopping.
Can you tell us why?

NotEverythingIsBlackandwhite Tue 14-Apr-20 07:41:37

If they are unnecessary why are all healthcare staff wearing them and why are the government on TV saying that they are working hard to get PPE out to people?

I believe the WHO's statement is to stop others from buying equipment needed by health providers.

Jellycatfox Tue 14-Apr-20 07:44:13

There is scientific evidence, in several languages that even textile masks (right material/ right thread amount) used properly do help for viruses such as flu.
Not enough evidence on coronavirus for obvious reasons.
But the last time I shared some of the papers on social media I got the usual “that’s rubbish” “they don’t work”
Even when I said that I am a scientist, but everyone has a google degree these days.
I wear mine and sit my frustrations at home.

LastTrainEast Tue 14-Apr-20 07:44:21

"Wearing them in a healthcare setting is completely different to wearing them going shopping"


If someone is facing me and coughs I want them to be wearing a mask. I don't care if it might be less effective in some situations. It's a damn sight better in this situation.

I get that they don't have enough. I'd be fine with "it would be safer but we don't have enough" but they should say so not make weak excuses.

IsolaPribby Tue 14-Apr-20 07:48:10

Masks made from cloth, such as the homemade ones made from hankies my friend posted on Facebook, are absolutely no use against the virus. The virus is tiny, and will go straight through the holes in the fabric. It's like salt through a sieve.

They will give you a false sense of security. You are better off not being in an environment where you think you might be infected, and washing your hands.

joystir59 Tue 14-Apr-20 07:49:12

Me and my immunocompromised partner wear them when going to medical appts (her) or going shopping (me). They help prevent the projection of infected particles so if we all wore them Wed be less likely to infect each other.

Ciwirocks Tue 14-Apr-20 07:50:31

I think the guidelines are going to change once we manage to obtain or manufacture face masks. People need to be taught how to wear and take them off safely though. If your mask is full of virus and you have it sitting on your chin then that’s no good. You need to not touch the mask at all to take it off (just the elastic) and preferably be leaning over a bin for it to just drop into while holding your breath and closing your eyes. Then wash hands straight after.

MonaLisaDoesntSmile Tue 14-Apr-20 07:55:22

The advice assumes everyone is an idiot who can't wear a mask properly. When I have it on I don't touch my face, I take it off and bin straight away and wash my hands. They did say not to use them because they government has failed to secure enough for NHS and now they onus is once again on population, like always.

Purplewithred Tue 14-Apr-20 07:55:33

Masks probably do help if they are handled properly, worn properly and disposed of properly. Ditto gloves.

However, a mask covered in virus (inside or outside) that is not covering the face properly, touched several times so germs are transferred from the surface of the mask to the hands, Slipped down onto your virus-spattered neck then put back on the face, etc etc... you might as well not bother. Cloth masks that are not washed very regularly can harbour the virus - we dont know how long it stays live on cloth I dont think but it will certainly be hours so unless that cloth mask goes straight into the wash when it comes off (hands washed immediately after taking the mask off) then again you’re just going to be smearing virus everywhere.

And dont get me started on use of gloves....

GoingtotheWinchester Tue 14-Apr-20 07:58:32

I’m surprised at people not understanding the difference between HCPs wearing them and Joe Public wearing them. HCPs HAVE to get close to people - you can’t observe social distancing while providing acute medical care hmm.

The rest of us can take different precautions.

I think the lack of PPE is a critical factor in the government not advising everyone to get a medical grade face mask in public. If the stockpiling of food and other essentials is anything to go by we know full well we can’t rely on people not being selfish fuckers and stripping the country’s supply of PPE meaning even more front line medical staff will be at risk sad.

MonaLisaDoesntSmile Tue 14-Apr-20 08:00:02

@IsolaPribby the idea is not to let virus not pass, but to change the trajectory of the particles, so if someone coughs on you, you are not caught up in a full blow of it so to speak. I thought the same as you, but wearing masks has been showed effective in China, Japan an Korea.

stayathomer Tue 14-Apr-20 08:06:45

Healthcare ppe is largely one time use only whereas the ones made for the public are the washable ones. I coughed and sneezed the other day while holding a ton of stuff and the droplets went everywhere. I was at home and outside with nobody about so was lucky buy I did think a Mask would at least have contained it a bit so in that way I think it cant hurt

Dyrne Tue 14-Apr-20 08:08:43

Unfortunately the advice has to take into account the fact that a large proportion of the general public are idiots.

We’re already seeing people bending over backwards to find loopholes in the current guidance. If masks become mandatory then for some people social distancing will disappear “because the masks will protect me”. They’ll justify visiting elderly and vulnerable relatives because they’re wearing a mask “and they’ve even put a tissue behind it”. They’ll even wear gloves to show how “extra careful” they’re being, forgetting that gloves don’t magically kill the virus and you’re still spreading it all over granny’s house.

Employees will be taken off furlough and forced back to work because they’ve “been provided with appropriate PPE” AKA a shitty cloth mask that will do fuck all.

A large proportion won’t follow the washing or wearing guidance either and will make things worse.

Pointing at Asian countries’ success or not at controlling the virus solely on mask useage completely ignores all the other variables at play.

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