Judith Harvey: Learning to live
 with masks

2nd September 2020 by Dr Judith Harvey

Judith Harvey: Learning to live
 with masks

Masks are uncomfortable, your glasses steam up, they muffle sounds and restrict facial expressions. It’s difficult to know if you are wearing them correctly. You can’t eat, drink or smoke wearing a mask. Or kiss.

Are they worth the hassle? When Covid-19 reached England, before there was any experience to go on, some doctors invoked the precautionary principle: faced with a serious harm, in the absence of evidence, it is advisable to take a possibly effective action with few downsides. Some sections of the population – people of my age, for instance – accepted the argument. But many didn’t.

If it could be proven that a mask protects the wearer, doubtless far more people would choose to wear a mask. Such evidence may be forthcoming, but meanwhile, it is worth bearing in mind that the idea that Real Britons Don’t Wear Masks doesn’t stand up to history. Londoners sheltering from the Blitz in underground stations didn’t see masks as demeaning; they all wore them to protect themselves from epidemic infection.

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