Coronavirus: Why wearing a face mask is a no-brainer – Kevan Christie
How do you drink a pint if you’re wearing a face covering? It’s a simple enough question, dear readers, but one that has been preying on my mind of late on the back of Boris Johnson announcing that folk can head back to the boozer on the new English independence date the fourth of July. “Hurry up Harry come on we’re going down the pub.”
All well and good, except Harry will be changing his name to Mickey Mouse when the pub staff ask for his personal details for purposes of self-isolating and 14-day quarantine lest ‘the missus’ finds out he was down the Dog and Duck.
You see, I’m confused and not for the first time I may add. It’s widely agreed that face coverings are the way to go although culturally it doesn’t appear to be happening in the UK and we’ve paid the price for laughing at those from Japan, China and Southeast Asia with their funny wee Michael (cancelled) Jackson-like masks.
The British Medical Association says that, for someone not wearing a face covering and who has the virus, the risk of transmission to another person close by is 70 per cent, but if the infected person is wearing the covering this drops to just five per cent. If a carrier and a healthy person both wear masks, the possibility of transmitting the virus is just 1.5 per cent. “You there – pay attention in class.”
The key thing is that we should be wearing face coverings all the time but in reality that’s never going to happen here.
So, a compromise has been sought – one in which the Scottish Government are right to exercise a degree of caution over – compared to Boris who is now paying lip-service to boring safety measures hampering his wider economic concerns.
If you tell people to wear a mandatory face covering on public transport and in enclosed spaces, how can you let them take the thing off to drink in a pub or eat in a restaurant?
All this was hammered home to me last week when I got a call on the Batphone from a former doctor, just as I was about to put the black pudding into my Stuart’s of Buckhaven well-fired roll.
This chap was apoplectic with anger at the sheer lack of face maskery that had been going on in Scotland and rUK.
I checked to make sure there were Caramel Wafers in the biscuit tin before heading outside to the decking to give the blighter my full attention. “OK, what’s your point caller?”
He said that as Covid-19 was a respiratory disease it was a ‘no-brainer’ that we should be wearing face coverings at all times and those in other countries, particularly Southeast Asia, with their history of overcoming Sars were laughing at us stupid Brits.
He cited a controversial study in a lauded medical journal which stated that the wearing of mandatory face masks was the reason for a drop in the infection rate in New York, Wuhan and Italy.
Now there are other factors in play here such as social distancing and the behaviour of the virus itself, but I came away agreeing with him that the wearing of face coverings is likely the most effective way to stop Covid-19 spreading.
However, and there’s always a however, obviously the hospitality industry has to restart so other health and safety measures are being brought in with the likes of Wetherspoon encouraging customers to use phone apps to order and pay for drinks which will be brought to tables. They also plan to fit screens, hand sanitisers and floor stickers to indicate a one-way system.
I think you might be allowed to use the toilet if you’re absolutely bursting for a single fish but I’m not sure what’s been decided. Sounds fun.
Unfortunately the old karaoke is getting binned as you’re not allowed to shout, sorry sing, in enclosed spaces, although high-level talks are currently taking place to make an exception for Band of Gold by Freda Payne.
The hairdresser is banned from giving you a bit of the old chat as they wash your hair so that means they can’t ask you where you’re going on your holidays this year.
“Santa Ponsa – I was there last year and the year before that and the year before that and the year before that.”
I detect a bit of chatter around the possibility of a second wave with no less a source than Professor Shuggie Pennington expertly describing such talk as “a load of old rubbish”.
The good professor asks the question “why should there be one?”, adding that “flu is the only virus that has a second wave and this is not the flu”. Let’s hope Shuggie’s on the money.
Even if there is a second wave, there’s no doubt we’re in a much better position to cope in Scotland than we were at the start of the pandemic. We’ve now got loads of intensive care unit capacity and a brand new hosser still lying empty in Glasgow.
The prospect of coping with sporadic outbreaks and a potential second wave is something we’re all going to have to get used to as a magic vaccine doesn’t appear to be imminent.
In fact, low transmission rates in the UK mean there is little chance of trials proving the effectiveness of a jab, according to Professor Sarah Gilbert, who is leading the University of Oxford vaccine trial.
The team from Oxford are now running a trial in Brazil where, thanks in no small part to their bampot President Jair Bolsonaro, there are 1.1 million confirmed cases.
Bolsonaro was last seen in public coughing and spluttering before a judge told him to “behave yerself” in Portuguese and ordered him to wear... a protective face mask.
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