Coronavirus is spreading all around us. To protect ourselves we go out wearing masks. The protocol of wearing masks vary from country to country. Therefore, official advice has become conflicting, especially in the last 24 hours. New York is the latest state to call on its citizens to cover their faces outside. The general advice is still to wear an N95 mask while going out.
However, the US coronavirus taskforce coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx raised concerns. He says masks give people a “false sense of protection”.
What is the advice in Scotland for avoiding Coronavirus?
You may see people wearing masks or covering their faces in the public. While walking or going to the supermarket, some Scottish people are seen wearing masks. But there is no official advice to do so. The Scottish government’s national clinical director, Jason Leitch, says, “there is no evidence to support members of the public wearing protective face masks”. Professor Leitch says masks are to be worn by healthcare workers and people who are infected with the coronavirus.
But because COVID-19 is spread by droplets and other fomites rather than air, washing hands and maintaining social distance is more effective for everyone in general. He says, “The global evidence, masks, in the general population don’t work.”
— ScotlandTonight (@ScotlandTonight) April 2, 2020
In the Good Morning Scotland, Professor Leitch says “people don’t wear them properly, they’re hard, they’re difficult, they’re uncomfortable. Masks are not fun.”
Why do masks not work for the general population?
Coronavirus is spread by fomites which can spray in the air when infected people talk, cough, or sneeze. They can enter our body through eyes, nose, or mouth, either directly or through touching an infected object. If people carrying the virus wear masks, these droplets may be prevented.
André Picard says that face coverings are helpful for health care workers and doctors who are in close contact with infected patients. However, he suggests the Scottish government to advise the general population to not wear masks. He said, “This virus is not airborne. It is spread by fomites and droplets – hence the social distancing, the hand-washing”.
The advice on face-covering is changing: Wear a face mask if you feel it’s necessary, but make sure it's a DIY so you don't deprive health professionals who really need them, by @picardonhealth https://t.co/MxHldTl9bT via @globeandmail #COVID19
— André Picard (@picardonhealth) March 31, 2020
But the official advice of the World Health Organization is clear. Only two types of people should wear masks. Those who are sick and show symptoms. And those who treat them or are in direct contact with them. Stay safe, stay healthy.
Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.