Should we now wear masks outside in the UK

Posted by Dr Mike Garside on

Do we need to wear masks outside now in the UK

should we wear masks outside UK

Currently there is no legislation that face coverings or masks should be worn outdoors in the UK, but is this a bad thing? In view of the rapidly increasing number of confirmed cases of Corona virus in the UK, is it now time to take more drastic action.

It's human nature to relax after a period of time, and unfortunately that's becoming apparent, with many of the base line instructions for Covid-19 prevention being ignored by many.

Face coverings were adopted with some enthusiasm when stocks became available last year, but despite rising infection rates and new evidence for higher transmissibility of the new virus variants, the basic hands, face, space advice is being ignored.

And it's not just at the high risk nodal points of contact, such as supermarket entrances, petrol stations and cash points, but in the less public home delivery and courier services, now seen quite rightly as essential services to many, and which are key to maintaining the economy, that laziness is creeping in to the official courier company procedures. 

Two of the three courier deliveries we received to our home over the last couple of days, did not bother to wear masks to bring the parcels to our front door. One required a confirmation of delivery for a valuable item, and was willing to breach the 1 meter rule to obtain it.

There's also no point in putting a mask on to deliver a parcel, if you have just coughed or sneezed into your open hands seconds before putting on your mask, and getting out of the van. 

Unfortunately complacency has now set in, and it may be time for the UK government to legislate, that masks should be worn outdoors in public spaces, as well as in shops.

Is a further nationwide lockdown now inevitable 

We are probably about to enter further and sustained periods of lockdown in the UK. If these are to work then we need to get the basic universal precautions back in place for air bourne and surface stable transmission, otherwise we lose some of the benefits of reducing human contact.

What do we need to do to prevent the spread of Covid-19

We need to consider every other human outside our bubble, as a potential source of infection transmission both indoors and outdoors. We need to continue with social distancing both indoors and outdoors and limit social contact to an absolute minimum that is necessary.

We also need to go back to considering every surface and every parcel a potential source of Covid-19 infection. Back to frequent hand washing, and surely the time has now come, for for face coverings to be universal in public spaces, at all times.

What happens if we don't manage to reduce the transmission of the virus

Our wonderful NHS will be overwhelmed, and the staff will burnout.

There will be hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths and morbidity, that may have been avoided by mass vaccination of the vulnerable and the key workers and lots of families will lose loved ones before their time.

We need to give time for the vaccination program to have an effect, and we all need to do everything we can, to reduce the rate of transmission and protect the NHS and our vulnerable.

Hypoallergenic face masks and visors are available to buy here


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