Are Face coverings Really That Mandatory?

Face coverings are now mandatory on public transport in both England and Scotland. They are also mandatory within shops in Scotland. England is even considering their use in shops.

However, this is not the case at the moment. Although, it may well be soon.

What is the case for face coverings, or masks?

Up until recently, masks were deemed not worthwhile. This was particularly the attitude within Scotland, and not a wearer could be seen in sight.

The notion of the mask lay in the confines of the sterile surgery and the aerosol laden industries, rather than the local high street. Here it is however, and as strange as it still seems, it is for the good of mankind.

A face covering cannot be a piece of cloth alone. There needs to be a science behind it. It is great to make a homemade version, but let’s think of the practicalities

  1. There needs to be no gaps

Your sturdy mask needs to protect your face, not expose it to the very thing you are trying to avoid. Gaps do defeat the purpose, sorry, but they do.

Ideally, and according to the science (do not forget the science), any mask to be effective should cover from the top of the nose (let’s call this the bridge) and go allll the way, right under the chin.

Gaps will let in bacteria, so be warned! It is said the greatest worry within transmission of this virus, is the ease that it does. Droplets are carried within coughing and sneezing in particular, and it is these instances that need mindfulness. 

Breathing, it has been said, is not so much of a worry-so the mask prevents transmission through sneezing or coughing.

Some New Evidence

Yet, there is growing evidence this is not the case entirely and the acclaimed scientific journal Nature, explains more. It is thought the virus can spread from what is deemed ‘aerosol transmission’. This is when tiny minuscule droplets travel like an aerosol in a fine mist, and stay in the air for an extended period of time. 

The virus can then be airborne and this was not something that was previously believed. Perhaps feared, but not believed.

If the virus becomes airborne, it can stay in the atmosphere for an extended period of time, and there have been some reports on news channels that suggest up to two hours.

That makes the walk home far more dangerous than previously thought.

If it is airborne, it can also potentially travel through ventilators. That is bad news for air conditioning this summer. 

And flights..mask up on flights.

This has been a worrying discovery as detailed by Nature, and one fervently communicated to the WHO.

Tragically, one choir close to Seattle, Washington discovered this the hard way when after practise, 33 of its 61 choir fell ill to covid 19. Two of them later died. Clearly, this was amped up via the vocal cords taking a 2.5 hour exercise, but you get the point.

When it is said ‘there’s something in the air tonight’. Take heed, there actually might be.

2. Double up on those layers

When it comes to face coverings, or even any coverings at all, double up.

Layers are the new trend in face coverings, and not to be confused with winter chic.

Any face covering purchased or sewn, needs to be at least double thickness.

This is to ensure it will protect effectively from any droplets making their way into or from your bodily frame.

John Hopkins advises further on the wearing of masks, which need to be thick enough that no holes can be seen. It makes sense. It is also better to purchase linen or cotton, of which both can be washed and used again.

Linen is particularly good because it is antibacterial, and super strong. It is also sustainable, a win-win.

3. Wash before and after

Wash hands before and after removing and applying the mask. Otherwise, any incriminating bacteria may find itself on your mask and a short distance from bodily portholes.

Even better, ensure the application and removal goes via the elastic ear bands to avoid spread.

Will a mask actually protect the wearer from virus transmission?

In other words, yes. A mask has been deemed to protect the wearer from virus transmission. John Hopkins confirmed this.

Why has a mask not been mandatory up until now?

This is a really good question. It has been thought that a mask would not be so effective. This is because the microns trying to enter the mask would be so small, that they would enter regardless.

However, opinion has changed. Where there was some worry that masks would distract from other measures, that now has changed. It was believed that masks could distract the wearer from observing other measures. Although this is amusing, when the sheer magnitude of coronavirus is such, I doubt anyone is forgetting the new social etiquette.

The science for masks has become so overwhelming that it is now mandatory. A mask will protect both the wearer and the external party, it is now not only believed to protect the external party.

A mask will protect the wearer from aerosol transmission, and it will protect from anyone close enough to cough or sneeze. It may have been thought in the past, that the mask would only protect an individual as far as the other person is wearing a mask. However, this is no longer the general consensus

Most importantly, wash your mask between use at least 65 Celsius for five minutes, it has been reported. Or, you can do this in the dryer too.

Failing this, wash it at the highest temperature possible.

Remember kids, do not go out without your mask, and do not wait until you are told to do so. Exhibit precaution at all times, and use common sense as to when to wear one, it just may be your saving grace.