When we all saw that a dangerous epidemic was happening in Wuhan, China, many of us feared that the Coronavirus would go worldwide and with dreadful consequences.
Sadly, not only were we correct, but the spread of the virus (now called Covid-19) was much faster and frightening than we had even imagined.
So when, in February, the UK Government was still telling its citizens that this country was low/moderate risk from Covid-19, some of us did our own research, because we knew by then that our Government would be unable to protect us.
We watched the spread of the virus in Wuhan and in China as a whole, and we watched the way the authorities fought to control it.
We watched as South Korea appeared to be on the verge of a total catastrophe from the virus, but then pulled back from the brink with excellent tracking, tracing and isolation measures.
Then we saw the virus enter Northern Italy and the truly dreadful suffering and death which entailed. We watched Italian health workers as they begged us to learn from their suffering before it was too late for us.
Well we, as a population, did learn, but sadly our Government did not.
And the people of the UK suffered terrible losses of loved ones as a result.
Face Masks at last:
Another thing our Government failed to learn about was the use of face masks.
In almost every country that the virus had entered, citizens took to wearing face masks for protection when they had to go out.
And, as the spread of the virus eased in different countries, face masks were used as part of a regime of safety measures for coming out of lockdown.
But our government still insisted that face masks were unnecessary and stated that in some cases they were dangerous.
Even when the WHO advised that face masks were a recommended part of ending lockdown, and when the (at first very reluctant) US Government told citizens they should be using face masks, most members of our UK Government ignored the whole thing or mumbled in a disgruntled and confused fashion about ‘face coverings’ as if the term ‘face mask’ was forbidden.
But then it finally hit the Government that the reluctance of many British people to go out after lockdown was because they were afraid of doing so, despite (or perhaps because of) all the insincere assurances from Government spokespersons that things were getting a lot better.
And who could blame people for being afraid and not listening to Government assurances, when evidence showed that the UK had such a dreadfully high death count from Covid-19 and one which was totally in opposition to the ‘moderate’ risk they had been assured of a few weeks earlier by those same Government spokespersons.
So finally the UK Government gave in (and as is now customary they gave in much later than necessary) and advised that ‘face covering’ should be used on public transport, in hospitals, and in other public spaces where it was difficult to social distance.
And many UK citizens were left in confusion. From being told that face masks were unnecessary or even dangerous, they now had to find a suitable ‘face covering’ for upcoming hospital visits, for catching the bus to work, etc.
The result is that a large number of people living in the UK, who never thought they would have to wear a face mask, now either resent this new ‘advice’, or fear it, or are simply confused because they don’t know where to begin, how to find something suitable, or simply what the hell the term ‘face covering’ actually means.
How to find out more:
Well, there is a lot of help out there:
- There are Facebook groups with members offering to make masks for others.
- There are loads of articles about face masks and the different types and how they work.
- There are hundreds of YouTube videos showing you how to make a face mask.
- And for those who can afford to buy a face mask or two, there are sellers on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc, selling all types of face masks at often very reasonable prices.
But perhaps that is all too much at once?
Since early March, I’ve been researching the making and wearing of face masks.
I’ve looked at all the different types of mask; at the range of materials used; at different types of filters; at mask fitting; at how to wear a mask and remove a mask; and loads more.
So I’ve decided to put all this together in a series of posts.
There is quite a lot of typing, but I’ll add plenty of pictures too 🙂
If I can help someone make some choices about face masks and wearing them, then I’m happy.
And all that information accumulated since March had to come out somewhere after all 🙂
The next piece will be on types of face mask and I’ll post it soon.