Fringe Box



Letter: Have Those Who Refuse to Wear Masks No Sense of Responsibility?

Published on: 3 Aug, 2020
Updated on: 3 Aug, 2020

Guildford shoppers complying with face mask rules in the Friary Centre.

From Matthew Alexander

I am saddened by those who refuse to wear masks in enclosed public environments. Have they no patriotism? Have they no sense of responsibility towards their fellow-countrymen?

It is recognised that the wearing of masks protects, not so much the wearer, but those around them.

In the last world war Britain stood united against a common enemy. No pompous egotists decided then that they were exempt from this, and would do as they wished. Our duty to the country is quite clear.


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Responses to Letter: Have Those Who Refuse to Wear Masks No Sense of Responsibility?

  1. John Perkins Reply

    August 3, 2020 at 9:27 am

    Samuel Johnson ably excoriated false patriotism when he described it as “the last refuge of a scoundrel”.

    Britain is not at “war”, any more than is the rest of the world. Coronavirus is a disease, not an “enemy”, it has no intent and will not respond to organised force. According to government advice uniting against it will help it spread.

    Regarding fellow humans as unclean is a sad indication of a personal lack of humanity.

    I want to see some real data on the effectiveness of face masks, as opposed to that produced by those who want to sell the things or the pompous egotists who simply desire to order people about.

  2. Pearl Catlin Reply

    August 3, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    It is not always that a person is being deliberately awkward – possibly it is because we are just not certain it is doing any good. For example in the Mail on Sunday there is a spread about non-masked Holland. Seems that their scientists just have no proof that it works at all.

    A picture shows no one wearing a mask at all. What are we to believe? I am a mask wearer, when necessary, myself.

  3. David Middleton Reply

    August 3, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    “Real data on the effectiveness of face masks”.

    I don’t have access to facts and figures, but I have no doubt that the wearing of face masks reduces the spread of the airborne water droplets present in exhaled breath, coughs and sneezes, which carry viral and bacterial matter.

    If they don’t, why on earth have surgeons worn them when carrying out surgical procedures for the last hundred years or so?

    Anyone who enters a confined environment such as a shop and refuses to wear a face-covering where required, without very good reason, is part of the problem and shows no regard for their fellow humans.

    • John Perkins Reply

      August 4, 2020 at 8:57 am

      The reason David Middleton has no access to facts and figures is because there are none. Or at least none worthy of serious consideration.

      His belief that wearing masks reduces the spread of exhaled water droplets is probably correct, but there is no proof that they make any worthwhile difference, especially if wearers re-use them, pull them down to talk or keep them on for more than about 15 minutes, after which they become sodden and dangerous.

      Surgeons have a tendency to do things the same way they’ve always done, which is why they mocked Semmelweis when he told them they should wash their hands.

      If failing to wear a mask “shows no regard for their fellow humans” then perhaps someone can explain why that was not true a couple of weeks or four months ago and why it’s still not true in restaurants and pubs.

      I remain to be convinced that wearing masks is a safety issue rather than a need to dispose of the hundreds of millions of masks bought by governments and those hoping to turn a quick profit.

  4. Sue Warner Reply

    August 4, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    I’m also saddened by shop assistants who don’t wear them properly. One I saw had a mask that didn’t cover his nose and the other had a visor that wasn’t over his face at all. It’s not setting a good example.

  5. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    August 4, 2020 at 11:36 pm

    My mask protects you and your mask protects me. My mask reduces my exhalation of droplets and if I am not infected all is well, but not, if I am infected but I don’t yet know that I am.

    How do masks become sodden in 15 minutes if they are multi-layered and has a filter? I always use a folded up tissue as a filter. The advice is not to fiddle with them and use masks only in confined spaces where 2m distance cannot be maintained. Masks should be removed after leaving confined spaces and washed at the same time as washing hands as soon as possible and before touching anything else. Filters should be safely discarded. Carrying a hand sanitiser is also useful.

    Masks reduce the intensity of virus in the environment we breathe in.

    I am copying a friend’s post that I found thought-provoking:

    “When I wear a mask in public I want you to know this:
    – I’m educated enough to know I could be asymptomatic and still give you the virus,
    – No, I don’t live in fear of the virus; I just want to be part of the solution, not the problem
    – I don’t feel like the government controls me; I feel like I can contribute to society as an adult,
    – The world doesn’t revolve around me. It’s not all about me,
    – If we could all live with consideration for other people, this world would be a much better place,
    – Wearing a mask doesn’t make me weak, anxious, stupid or even ‘controlled’. This makes me considerate.

    When you think about what you look like, how uncomfortable it is, or what others think about you, just imagine someone close to you, a child, a father, a mother, grandparent, an aunt or an uncle choking on a respirator, alone, without you or a family member allowed by the bed.

    Ask yourself if you could have done or said something. Was it worth the risk?

    Wearing mask is not political. It’s the choice of public health!”

  6. Adam Aaronson Reply

    August 5, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    Well said!

  7. John Perkins Reply

    August 6, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    The Royal Society report mentioned in a reply above partly concludes “Cloth face coverings are effective in reducing source virus transmission, i.e., outward protection of others, when they are of optimal material and construction (high grade cotton, hybrid and multilayer) and fitted correctly and for source protection of the wearer”. (The implication being that cheap ones or those that are badly fitted or used incorrectly are not effective.) It goes on to state “It is important to know that the evidence of the benefit of using a face covering to protect others is weak and the effect is likely to be small”.

    Putting a positive spin on reasoning does not make it any more correct and it’s a false dichotomy to claim the choice is between wearing a mask and potentially killing someone in a most awful manner, not to mention scaremongering. Driving a car carries the risk of killing someone else, yet nobody is calling to ban them.

    Those who would have shop assistants wearing the things should first try wearing one themselves for 8 hours day after day. Alternatively, look at the image posted by NHS worker Natalie Sylvey of her ravaged face.

    Many masks bought are disposable, not washable and do not contain filters. Any part of a mask made of absorbent material will become saturated eventually. When exercising, 15-20 minutes is enough, 90 minutes is probably the maximum when sitting down. Advice published on the WHO website is to not wear a wet mask.

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