The same type of face masks that the UK government is mandating people wear in shops from July 24 onwards to protect against the spread of coronavirus specifically state on their packaging that they don’t protect against coronavirus.
Earlier this week, the government confirmed that anyone caught not wearing a mask when entering a shop or supermarket will be subject to a police fine of £100, prompting the Chair of the London Metropolitan Police Foundation to complain that this would be totally unenforcable.
However, the law states that cloth masks, scarves or other textile items that don’t require the use of hands to hold them in place are acceptable forms of protection against COVID-19.
One problem with that, the packaging on these kind of cloth masks specifically states that they don’t protect against COVID-19.
“This product is an ear loop mask. This product is not a respirator and will not provide any protection against COVID-19 (coronavirus) or any other viruses or contaminants,” states the packaging on a standard set of cloth masks currently being sold.
Skeptics have also pointed out that people continually touching potentially infected masks and then touching surfaces could even exacerbate the spread of coronavirus.
“Apart from everything else, the only coverings the Government is insisting on are cloth ones, which every man and his dog knows are COMPLETELY USELESS,” writes Toby Young.
“As Allison Pearson says in her excellent comment piece in today’s Telegraph, “anything other than tight-fitting, surgical-grade masks are utterly pointless – like trying to stop a bullet with a chain-link fence”. I mean, the evidence that the gold-standard N95 masks are effective in non-healthcare settings is threadbare at best – and they have to be disposed of after a single use.”
“There is literally no evidence that re-usable cloth masks are effective in community settings. None. It’s like wearing a tin foil hat in case you get struck by lightening – an ineffective way to protect yourself from an almost non-existent risk. What has become of us?”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said mandating the wearing of masks would “give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shops,” however many have reacted to the law by asserting that they will simply avoid shops altogether.
This will lead to yet more economic devastation, more high street job losses and in the longer term, more poverty and death.