Study reveals British attitudes to face masks risks second wave
A new report suggests that the UK may be more at risk of a second wave of Covid-19 due to public reluctance to wear protective face masks.
The survey of 6,000 people across six countries* showed that Brits were the least aware of the protection face masks can offer, with respondents being only half as likely as those in other countries to wear a mask.
More than 50 countries, including Germany and France, have made wearing face masks mandatory in public. Spanish authorities have made them mandatory outside of the home, as have several German states. Masks are now compulsory on public transport in France.
Our European neighbours have all learned the lessons from Asian countries such as South Korea and Hong Kong, where masks are commonly worn and infection rates have remained low. To date, Hong Kong, where 98% of its residents wear masks, has recorded only four COVID-19 related deaths in a densely packed population of 7.4 million.
Cradle is campaigning to normalise the wearing masks as a vital protective measure during this crucial time as the country attempts to escape lockdown without a second wave of infections. To help encourage this change in attitude, Cradle has committed to giving a donation for every mask to the NHS: 50p for every KN95 mask will be donated to the NHS Charities Together fund to help support those caring for people with the disease.
Dr Iain Ashworth, one of Cradle’s medical consultants explains:
“Scientists are still arguing about how fast we should be coming out of lockdown with many saying it is too soon. I believe that face masks should be mandatory right now to help prevent the dreaded second wave.
We know that wearing a face mask feels alien to most people in the UK - but this is no time to worry about looking a bit silly. If you want to get out of the house and start reliving your life then you need to be wearing a face mask.
Along with washing your hands regularly, wearing a mask is your most important protection against this virus - they protect you and they protect the people around you if you are unknowingly carrying the virus but not showing symptoms. It’s no coincidence that the countries with the lowest COVID-19 infection rates are also the ones where people have been wearing masks.”
*Study by Belot, Michele and Choi, Syngjoo and Jamison, Julian C. and Papageorge, Nicholas W. and Tripodi, Egon and van den Broek-Altenburg, Eline, Six-Country Survey on Covid-19. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13230. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3596697
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