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Why Wearing a Face Mask is Important

Wearing a face mask/covering does not protect you. It protects others. It is a small thing you can do as an individual to protect others from the transmission of the deadly virus Covid19.

It is highly recommended that people in Scotland wear a face mask/covering in indoor spaces and shops. There are exceptions, it is not recommended that people with an underlying health condition (like asthma) or the very young wear one. And still despite the strong advice few seem to be doing this. Why?

What we have is a very simple act we can do which can limit the spread of the disease.

You can read more about the issues around face covering in Face coverings for the public: Laying straw men to rest by Trisha Greenhalgh.

We know that Covid19 is very successful at spreading through droplets – that’s by sneezing, coughing and when we speak. We cannot see these droplets but they are there and in a confined space, like a shop, would infect other people nearby. So, unlike a doctor who may wear a surgical face mask, when citizens put on a face covering (mask or scarf) it is to stop these droplets landing on surfaces.

“source control face coverings can potentially be very effective even if they only block the larger droplet particles.” Greenhalgh

NHS Orkney has announced that it has introduced the Test and Protect strategy. Shops have put in place social distancing measures and mostly people are adhering to them. What we can do to further limit the transmission of Covid19, especially as we relax the lockdown, is to wear a face covering in the shops.

“Mathematical modelling suggests that a face covering that is 60% effective at blocking viral transmission and is worn by 60% of the population will reduce R0 to below 1.0” Greenhalgh

We all want to move out of the restrictions of lockdown. For our local economy it is vital that more businesses can re-open safely and trade. We want to be able to socialise more, especially as the weather improves. None of this can happen – we cannot move on from Phase 1 – if the R rate of transmission does not go down.

Over 3,000 people have died in Scotland where Covid19 is mentioned as a factor on the death certificate. We can do our wee bit to prevent more people contracting Covid19 by the simple act of wearing of face mask/covering.

“if 60% of people wear a mask that is 60% effective, this is likely to be sufficient to substantially reduce the transmission of Sars‐CoV‐2” Greenhalgh

The Scottish Government is even considering making the wearing of face masks/ coverings mandatory as they look at ways to easing lockdown restrictions. As citizens we need to take responsibility and, for those who can, start wearing a face mask/covering now when in indoor spaces.

Getting a face mask

You can make your own – and there are lots of patterns out there on how to do so. How to make a mask

You can support a local business and buy one, this is one for Orkney folks : Peedie Handmade Gifts & Keepsake Teddies

And you can buy online

Or you can use a scarf and wrap it around covering your nose and mouth although that is a bit hot for the summer.

face masks covid19

So forget about how you look and think about the safety of others – cover up.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

6 replies »

  1. I don’t like having anything over my face, as I don’t breathe well at the best of times, but – well….to people who resent wearing a mask, or even refuse to wear a mask…I will say this….

    Would you rather wear a mask – or be ill – or dead? Or….be the cause of ill health, or death in another person?
    It’s a very simple equation. It really is.

    And – some of them are very groovy.