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A simple yet perhaps a naive question?

  Brumas 11:51 23 Apr 2020

By September 1939 some 38 million gas masks had been given out free by the British government, house to house, to families as they decided that every man, woman and child must have their own respirator - or gas mask - for protection in case a gas attack ever happened.

Therefore why cannot they issue facemasks/repirators for something i.e. this awful coronavirus which is actually happening right now?

I say issue because there are lots of unfortunate folk who perhaps couldn't afford a decent one, choosing to spend their money on day to day food items etc.

  The Kestrel 12:38 23 Apr 2020

The difference between the gas masks from 1939 and the facemasks used today are that todays facemasks cannot be reused over and over again. With a total population over 60 million in the UK the logistics of supplying the entire population with a constant supply of facemasks is probably not possible. This would also have to take place at the same time as supplying PPE to the NHS and all other essential users where there are already issues of keeping supplies in line with requirements.

  wee eddie 13:01 23 Apr 2020

Put your facemask on the Windowsill.

The UV Rays in direct sunlight will kill COVID-19

There will be arguments about this but research in California appears to show that it works

  Pine Man 13:18 23 Apr 2020

I am lucky enough to have a pack of 50 FFP face masks which I acquired several years ago.

The Government stance on public use is flawed in my opinion as they say they are not necessary. They say that social distancing and hand washing is good enough and it certainly helps BUT the responsible use of face masks adds another safety barrier. They MUST have SOME effect or the NHS and care home staff wouldn't wear them.

The main reason for the government stance is clearly because they don't want panic buying of face masks and I applaud that but there are distinct and proven benefits from making and responsibly using your own masks.

COVID 19 dies on surfaces after somewhere in the region of 3 days we are told and based on that I wear an FFP face mask when I go to the supermarket once a week. It is then stored away for the next weeks visit. In between supermarket visits I go into town once a week shopping for odd things and wear a different mask, which is then stored away for the following week. If the mask gets wet or it becomes more difficult to breathe through them they are disgarded.

I am happy that I am doing everything I possibly can to protect myself and others.

  Condom 21:04 23 Apr 2020

I brought mine back from Thailand where everyone wears them and they have a bigger population than the UK. It is the accepted practice. When I wear mine here I think I'm looked at as if I'm an alien. There is no need to wear a medical mask as basically any good cloth would serve the purpose for the general population. Indeed a scarf over the face would be fine. I also disagree with the "Expert Advice" on wearing them as there are just as many experts saying they do serve a useful purpose. All of Germany now have to wear masks.

  john bunyan 21:42 23 Apr 2020

The non respirator masks are more used to protect others from YOUR infection. As they are loose fitting they won’t bu much use against someone else - and if there is an infection on the outside, when you take the mask off your hands will get infected. The FFP3 masks are impossible to obtain on line unless you are in the NHS or a Doctor etc

  Forum Editor 22:50 23 Apr 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that face masks are not recommended for use by the general public because:

They can be contaminated by other people's coughs and sneezes, or when putting them on or removing them.

Frequent hand-washing and social distancing are far more effective

They might offer a false sense of security

*"All of Germany now have to wear masks" *In Germany masks will so far only be compulsory for people who travel on public transport, or when people go into supermarkets. Other countries are all saying much the same thing - people should wear masks if they are in places where others are likely to be in closer proximity, like supermarkets, buses, train stations etc.

A mask is not likely to prevent you being infected, but it would help to prevent you infecting others. The single biggest protections against infection are hand washing and keeping away from other people - staying at home, in other words.

In the end, we all have a personal choice to make. If you feel safer wearing a mask, then wear one.

  Pine Man 08:24 24 Apr 2020

It seems as if the government is about to change it's mind about the use of masks according to todays media.

'Ministers will advise people to wear masks in indoor work places and on public transport after scientists concluded they may help slow the spread of corona'.

'Experts are reported to have agreed that the move will bring about marginal benefits and are set to issue guidance on their use in shops, offices, factories, buses and trains'.

It appears that, grudgingly, Whitehall now agrees that there are some circumstances where it may benefit us all by people wearing masks. Talk about stating the blindingly obvious!!

  Forum Editor 23:06 24 Apr 2020

"Experts are reported to have agreed that the move will bring about marginal benefits"

I think that has been known for some time, but the benefits are, as you say, marginal at best. The masks that you buy in a pharmacy are next to useless - they cannot filter out virus particles because the fabric they are made from does not have a fine enough mesh.

Nevertheless, as we slowly start going out and about again most of us will probably end up wearing them for the psychological benefit if nothing else.

  wee eddie 23:36 24 Apr 2020

FE: The argument is not that a mask will filter the particles out of the air that the wearer breathes but the:

The mask will significantly reduce the number of droplets leaving the wearer thereby reducing the transmission factor by a considerable extent

  simonjary 07:05 25 May 2020

If anyone is still looking for them, one office tech accessory company if offering nearly free face masks in the UK.

You have to pay £2.99 postage for a free pack of ten.

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