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So any old mask Is protective now? FFS

(108 Posts)
HMSSophie Wed 22-Apr-20 07:25:47

Did I dream that, back when this all started, we were assured by the government that non clinical masks did nothing to protect us because the virus was so tiny it would pass straight through, and that anyone who thought that clipping on their "decorators mask" to pop to Tesco's was a good idea, was in fact a fool, a panic monger and, to be honest, rather an embarrassment to the nation?

So how come I saw someone telling me on Tv last night that even a double -folded piece of cotton would foil 99%'of virus spores (or whatever they are called).

Which is it? This government is unbelievable!!

OP’s posts: |
Ezira Wed 22-Apr-20 07:33:19

They didn’t want people stockpiling masks that are needed at hospitals so they lied about them being ineffective.

Chemenger Wed 22-Apr-20 07:38:39

The masks used in hospitals protect the staff from viruses coming from patients they have to be close to as they are treated. The simple masks recommended for the public are to stop the mark wearer passing on the virus, by stopping the spray from coughs and sneezes travelling so far. Any fabric will stop droplets flying from your mouth. Two different jobs, two different masks.

Shitsgettingcrazy Wed 22-Apr-20 07:41:53

Confused by your point?

One of the main reasons masks don't work, is because people using them tend to be complacent. If you work in H&S its a quite well known fact that the more safety equipment, the more relaxed people get and things happen.

Masks, as has always been said, will not protect you from someone who has it. But will minimise people who do have it from spraying the virus, as far, through coughing and sneezing.

I saw a piece on it last night. Wearing a mask, or homemade mask, will not do much to stop you getting it. It will, however, have some benefit if you have it and sneezing and coughing in public (but then you shouldn't be out anyway) and minimise how far you project the droplets.

Then the people who are wearing them, may subconsciously being strict about social distancing, not worry about how they take the mask off, wash hands less, reuse them without washing. It can increase people touching their face, if they have got it on their hands, it will spread that way.

I see lots of people wearing masks, especially home made ones, are constantly adjusting them, then picking stuff up. Or pulling them down to talk.

That said, I think if it makes you feel better to wear one and you still observe all the social distancing and guidance and use it properly, I would say wear one.

Gruffawoah Wed 22-Apr-20 07:43:30

Two different jobs, two different masks.

That doesn't explain why they have constantly been saying that there isn't any benefit to the public wearing any masks. Why not? They could have made it clear that homemade masks were suitable for the public, and not to buy those needed in healthcare (although they should have bought those already anyway, FFS).

DustOffYourHighestHopes Wed 22-Apr-20 07:46:34

There is a huge difference between:

- wearing a mask to stop yourself catching C19. The government is correct - it’s not that effective. Virus goes through your eyes, masks make you touch your face, need to be properly disposed of. This was particularly relevant when there weren’t many cases of c19 in the country so the purpose of masks would have been to stop catching it.

- wearing masks to prevent you (who may not show symptoms but still have c19) from transmitting to others. This is shown to have a high rate of effectiveness. The masks can be anything to stop droplets from spraying out of your mouth.

People lobbying for more mask wearing by the public due to the second reason. Which is now more relevant than ever now the illness is widespread in the community and we have learnt that lots of people transmit the disease without showing any symptoms themselves for the first week or ever.

EricaNernie Wed 22-Apr-20 07:47:09

so who should have the surgical masks, a health worker in a covid ward or you going to the shops wearing it Just in case.
why are you annoyed?

Gruffawoah Wed 22-Apr-20 07:53:54

so who should have the surgical masks, a health worker in a covid ward or you going to the shops wearing it Just in case. why are you annoyed?

Hospitals should have them. As there is a shortage, it is beyond belief that there are any for the public to buy, because the government should have bought them. If it has been shown that homemade masks are even a bit effective at helping to avoid passing it on, it sounds entirely sensible that people are advised to wear them, especially as many will be asymptomatic and have no idea they have it. But again, we are different to the rest of the world. Personally I am annoyed because the advice not to bother is based on the fact that they don't want people buying up supplies of a mask that they don't need but hospitals do, because their procurement teams and processes are useless. So their incompetence is forming advice to the public, which could actually be keeping people safer.

PestymcPestFace Wed 22-Apr-20 07:57:26

Medical masks for medical people.

Any dam home-made mask for the rest of us. Act like you have Covid19, because you will probably never know for sure.

Breathing, speaking, laughing, coughing and sneezing all produce droplets. Contain the droplets, contain the virus.

Wearing a mask is a selfless act. Unlikely to catch on in this country. Most people appear to want to protect themselves, not protect their community.

Make a few different ones, if they fit, you don't have to fiddle with them.

PerditaProvokesEnmity Wed 22-Apr-20 08:09:04

So what can non-NHS people do to protect themselves in circumstances where they are unavoidably obliged to (briefly) pass close by to other people - say on a flight of stairs or around a doorway?

penisbeakers Wed 22-Apr-20 08:13:26

Any old mask
Any old mask
Any any any old maaaa-sk...
You look neat! Talk about a treat!
You look a dapper from your napper to your feet...

PestymcPestFace Wed 22-Apr-20 08:17:13

@PerditaProvokesEnmity make sure that the other person is wearing a mask. It is the only thing that you can do.

Gruffawoah Wed 22-Apr-20 08:20:08

If everyone was wearing a mask, then the risk would be reduced. As you wearing a homemade one doesn't protect yourself but helps to prevent you spreading it, they are only really effective if large numbers of people do. Why the government aren't advising this when most other countries are is mind boggling.

Bjornthebear Wed 22-Apr-20 08:20:24

I`m with you OP. There is an Owellian element to the way advice is changing. The advice a few weeks ago was clear that masks were a net danger for various reasons that were frequently explained.

Now masks (2 legs good?) are preferred with no acknowledgement of the difference to the previous advice. Maybe that would show there is a lot of guess work rather than solid science in some of the decisions being made.

I wonder if we will all experience a revelation that spraying the streets is a good idea some time soon. Stupid obviously as it makes no sense (see various UK discussions on it) - although only as stupid as many of the “rules” the UK is currently accepting.

Don’t worry I am fucked in Stockholm where a very different truth is accepted.

anothernotherone Wed 22-Apr-20 08:25:52

PerditaProvokesEnmity avoid speaking to them while they're within 2 meters (avoid encouraging them to open their mouth an spray droplets) by greeting them well before you come into range of it's a place where greetings are expected, or nodding at them instead of speaking.

The odds of being infected passing someone on the stairs are very low, but not nil if they actually spray at you by coughing or sneezing in your direction or entering into conversation within range.

Obviously home made masks and even simple surgical masks only really protect other people from you not you from other people.

Although according to our training at work a dry properly sewn cloth mask provides 30% reduction in risk to the wearer as well as 60-80% protection to others but only during the first hour it's worn. Once damp from your breath it's useless.

NekoShiro Wed 22-Apr-20 08:30:32

I read somewhere that the WHO have said from the start that if you don't have access to a proper mask then aa homemade one while not amazing will work slightly, so I wore a bandana covering my face on my medicine run last week just to be a lil extra protected, I don't know why you wouldn't, even if it's a 1% rise in protection for me, I'll take it right now

middleager Wed 22-Apr-20 08:30:37

Here's what Dr Harries said about face masks . This was March when she was still saying mass outdoor gatherings posed no risk:

The Govt advice does keep changing and I don't trust its advice. Today its been accused by the Lancet editor of changing the narrative to vindicate its poor actions.

I wish the wearing of face masks was mandatory. I've seen several people (mainly older men) spluttering, without even bothering to put their elbow up to catch the cough.

anothernotherone Wed 22-Apr-20 08:36:42

Cloth masks have been compulsory at my work for 3 weeks, since we ran out of surgical masks - they're bloody hot to go about your day in and should really be changed hourly. They absolutely must be washed daily at 60% and dried outside in direct sun or tumble dried if they don't contain elastic (some have elastic, some cloth ties).

Once they're damp from your breath or you've touched them to scratch your nose through them they're useless.

I did a supermarket shop for 14 people (residential setting) in a cloth mask for the first time yesterday and was really uncomfortably warm.

They are useful

anothernotherone Wed 22-Apr-20 08:38:14

60 degrees c not % obviously!

LondonJax Wed 22-Apr-20 08:44:03

There was a professor and a doctor on 5 live yesterday making the point that, if you are going to wear a home made mask, you should make sure the material isn't absorbent.

Apparently a lot of people are starting to make them out of J-cloths, towels or new tea-towels. The problem with that, apparently, is that those materials are made to be absorbent. So if someone with Covid 19 coughs around you the material will hold the virus.

I would have thought that was obvious, if it sucks up water, it'll suck up any moisture in the air, but some people apparently think any old material will work.

Two layers of cotton was the recommendation. It will only stop you passing on the virus though so everyone needs to wear them.

Makeitgoaway Wed 22-Apr-20 08:45:59

It was very clear in that report.

Medical grade PPE does what it says and protects the wearer. An improvised "mask" helps reduce (but doesn't eliminate) the risk that you spread it to others.

As you are at minimal risk whilst out and about, provided you follow social distancing you do not need PPE, which should be left for those working it situations where it is needed.

There is some argument that general wearing of face coverings would help reduce the spread, for example if you sneeze into your scarf, you won't leave so many droplets on the supermarket trolley, but it doesn't protect the wearer who is social distancing.

Mamamia456 Wed 22-Apr-20 08:55:22

Bjornthebear - Can I ask what people in Sweden think to the approach out there?

Mentounasc Wed 22-Apr-20 09:01:04

I've been using a cloth mask for the last month or so for my weekly supermarket run, purely as a courtesy to others in case I'm asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. It's been recommended here in Berlin for around that long. Quite a few German states have now made it compulsory to wear one in public generally. In Berlin it's mandatory on public transport from next week.

A few points about cloth masks:
They work best in countries with a strong social contract, because it's all about what you can do for others (but then in turn what they can do for you). So people saying the masks are 'useless' are looking at it from the wrong perspective - and a fairly selfish one.

They're only one tool in the Arsenal to reduce the spread,along with strict distancing, hand washing and sanitising, and quarantining. Of course they're far from 100% failsafe, but that doesn't make them 'useless'.

It's important to use them correctly to avoid contamination (just like washing your hands in cold water for a few seconds will achieve precisely nothing). As little time worn as possible, don't touch the cloth while on your face, only take them off by the straps when done and drop the mask into a plastic bag then wash at 60 degrees or (very popular here in Germany) boil for 5 mins and sun dry. So each person might need quite a few if you always want to have one available.
Yes, they're uncomfortable, but a trip to a supermarket is less than an hour and it's better than risking infecting someone else.

ravenmum Wed 22-Apr-20 09:07:28

I read that tea-towels are actually a good material to make masks out of, as they filter well.

MadgeMak Wed 22-Apr-20 09:21:25

I went to Tesco yesterday and saw a few people wearing masks. I think they give the wearer a false sense of security. One woman in particular was repeatedly failing to observe social distancing, wandering up and down the aisles any which way she liked, passing people in close proximity even when there was space to create some distance. I was loading my shopping into the car and I saw her again on the way to her car which was parked two spaces down from mine, she had removed her mask at this point and passed me by so close I could have touched her. Totally pointless.

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