Covid Scotland: Wearing a face mask is not a political act – Scotsman comment

Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to retain the requirement to wear face masks in shops, public transport and other public settings for at least two weeks has been met with outrage by business leaders and relief by the medical community.

However, while the balance between public health and the state of the economy should be a matter for robust debate, it is important to maintain sympathy for people who have concerns about the easing of restrictions.

For while the removal of all legal requirements, apart from face masks, from Monday provides some good news for those desperate for a return to normal, it may make some people – particularly those vulnerable to Covid because of conditions like asthma and others weakened by serious health conditions like cancer and heart disease – fear for their lives.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And this is perfectly understandable, given the millions of people worldwide who have died from this terrible virus and the warnings repeated on a regular basis over the past two years by political leaders and health experts about the seriousness of the Covid threat.

With good reason, our governments have put considerable public messaging muscle into making us all afraid, so it will be hard for some to act as if the pandemic is no longer a threat.

Read More
Covid Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon confirms mandatory face coverings to remain amid...

And the plain truth is that while Covid may not be as life-threatening as it once was, thanks to the miracle of vaccines, there were still 1,996 people in hospital with Covid in Scotland as of yesterday, not far off the all-time record figure of 2,053 set in February 2021.

Furthermore, the situation in Hong Kong, where the Covid case fatality rate has hit 4.7 per cent, is a reminder of dangers. It is also a reminder of the importance of vaccination: a large proportion of over-80s in Hong Kong were not vaccinated when the latest outbreak began; New Zealand, where just two per cent of people were unvaccinated, has seen a similar spike in cases but the death rate is a tiny fraction of Hong Kong’s.

Face masks have become part of everyday life over the past two years (Picture: Martin Rickett/PA)Face masks have become part of everyday life over the past two years (Picture: Martin Rickett/PA)
Face masks have become part of everyday life over the past two years (Picture: Martin Rickett/PA)

Continuing to wear a mask after the legal requirement is dropped should not be seen as a political act or an implicit rebuke to those not doing so. It is a matter of personal choice, and one that should be respected.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.