For 10 days in a row Scotland has had no deaths recorded due to Covid19.
Whilst this is good news it is also very evident that the virus is still a real and present danger as positive tests results show.
All 4 nations of the UK have had to reimpose the quarantine rules on people who have holidayed in Spain due to rising numbers there. Those arriving in Scotland from Spain will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
Across the UK many people are still dying from Covid19, however, the figures show quite a difference across the 4 nations.
The wearing of face masks/coverings is now mandatory or strongly advised in 160 countries around the world when in indoor spaces.
It was suggested at one time that the wearing of face masks/coverings would cause people to have a false sense of security and forget that this is just one part of a wider set of actions individuals can take to protect themselves, others and limit the spread of Covid19. This is known as Risk Compensation.
A team of researchers from Cambridge University, have been exploring this issue. They discovered that :
At least 22 systematic reviews have assessed the effect of wearing a mask on transmission of respiratory virus infections. These include six experimental studies, involving over 2,000 households in total – conducted in community settings that also measured hand hygiene.
While none of the studies was designed to assess risk compensation or looked at social distancing, their results suggest that wearing masks does not reduce the frequency of hand washing or hand sanitising.
In fact, in two studies, self-reported rates of hand washing were higher in the groups allocated to wearing masks.
Co-author of the report, Professor Marteau, said:
“The concept of risk compensation, rather than risk compensation itself, seems the greater threat to public health through delaying potentially effective interventions that can help prevent the spread of disease.”
And Dr James Rubin from the Department of Psychological Medicine, King’s College London, who also co authored said:
“Many public health bodies are coming to the conclusion that wearing a face covering might help reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, and the limited evidence available suggests their use doesn’t have a negative effect on hand hygiene.”
The report reference is Mantzari, E et al. Is risk compensation threatening public health in the covid-19 pandemic? BMJ Analysis; 27 July 2020: DOI: 10.1136/bmj.m2913
The public health advice in Scotland is to:
- wear a face covering
- avoid crowded places
- clean hands and surfaces regularly
- stay 2m away from other people
- self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms
Scotland is still in Phase 3 of emerging from lockdown and may be in this phase for some time to come to ensure that the spread of the virus is limited. That is what the Test and Protect strategy aims to do. So far this is working, in Scotland, but as more people move about and interact it is more important than ever before to follow the public health advice.
Shops and businesses have done so much to provide safe places that as individuals we need to help them. Firstly by shopping local and secondly by making sure that when we do we are wearing a face mask/covering and following the other public health measures to that they have introduced in their premises.