Verified VCDS User
- May 16, 2014
- Reaction score
- Melbourne, Australia
- VCDS Serial number
Uwe, et al:Personally, my sense is that we'd accomplish more with good hand hygiene than masks, but of course it's far more difficult tell when or how thoroughly a person last washed their hands than it is to see if they're wearing a mask, which makes hand hygiene rather difficult to enforce.
Victoria (which is a State of Australia) has had mandatory face-mask regulations (anytime outside the home) since the commencement of our 2nd wave and there are heavy financial/legal penalties for infringements. I now see lots of variations in face mask types in the community; surgical, non-surgical, home made, face visors, bandanas, industrial/medical respirators - and many more!
I'm not sure how effective face-masks are at actually stopping the virus but the regulations were introduced together with a raft of more draconian restrictions to combat rising infection numbers in our Melbourne community (which in the Capital city of Victoria). Our 2nd wave started because of bungled quarantine practices by private security staff working at our COVID isolation hotels.
The points made above about the medical disadvantages and the constant face-mask fiddling are quite valid, as is the issue of bacteria build-up inside the mask. I personally wear N95 masks and I religiously bathe my mask after each use with UV light from a small portable battery-operated UV sanitizer (charged via the USB port in my car). Seems to work OK - we most definitely can't get "30-cent "surgical" style" masks" down here. The other issue regarding the medical effectiveness of masks is the integrity of the seal against the face - I've seen some shocking examples (particularly with the growing practice to cross the ear chords on the mask) and for bearded men (like me), getting a good seal is a real problem
Anyhow - I'm not sure if I'm reading too much into the community effect of mandatory face mask wearing down here - but for me, the bigger impact seems to be the very strong and clear subliminal message that the regulation sends in a State/country that doesn't generally wear these coverings; the constant sight of every-one with a mask seem to unite the community and their wearing appears to reinforce the message that we are all in this battle together.
Yes, we still get the occasional protesters on the evening news - but generally, the common compliance seems to shout loudly that folk are OK to subdue their personal freedoms for the good of the community (freedoms are ultimately a net-sum-game, in reality). And, by "freedoms", I'm not just referring to those related specifically to face masks!
So - I agree that medical considerations are entirely appropriate when looking at face masks for their intended application - remembering that PPE protection gear, which includes face masks is designed for a specific purpose in hospitals and medical places. However, perhaps it's prudent to look at the advantages/disadvantages of face masks in a far wider context when considering their use for infection control in a community.
Fact is that in a community context, mandatory face-mask wearing does serve many more purposes - IMHO, of course!!