Pete Owens wrote:The empirical evidence for any protective effect of masks (as worn by the public rather than fitted to properly trained medical staff) is marginal at best
AIUI, there’s plenty of evidence that they significantly reduce the dispersion of droplets from the nose and mouth. Intuitively, one would expect that to make a worthwhile difference, as long as risk compensation doesn’t negate any benefit.become less
But that is not evidence for effectiveness at reducing transmission - it is just taking measure against the things that common sense assumptions tell you might work. Intuitively yes - if you are assuming that the main mode of transmission is coughs and sneezes then a face covering is going to catch some of them.
And precisely because it plays to our common sense - we presume it is effective - we think we are protected that risk compensation comes in. People are becoming less careful with social distancing, entering busy shops, sitting next to each other on buses and so on.
FWIW, the ritual of fitting the mask seems to make me feel more “alert” and I find myself actively seeking other mitigation measures provided by the shop I’m entering, although perhaps that will wear off in time.
Perhaps by thoroughly cleaning your hands before handling piece of cloth that you are going to attach to your face, making sure you store it in a place where it is not going to contaminate anything, or become contaminated by anything. Not waving it around or putting it on surfaces where infection could be picked up by other people.
Basically, you really shouldn't be taking the thing off and on all the time - put it on before you leave the house and straight into the washing machine when you get back.
Just look at some of the vox-pops you see on the news of mask wearers advocating compulsion and denouncing the refusenicks. See how half of them have their noses hanging out, how they are constantly touching their faces to fiddle with the mask, how their are standing in close groups with their friends.
I stopped at a cafe yesterday - it was well organised, hand sanitisers available, well spaced outdoor seating separate entrances and exits. But oh dear the waitress was wearing a mask - sometimes it covered her face, sometimes it was under her chin, sometimes her nose poked out. This meant that if she was infectious and the mask at worked at some point in the morning to catch a cough, then she would be constantly re-infecting her hands every time she made one of those adjustments.