Facemasks have become a symbol of the pandemic. In the early stages of the coronavirus crisis, the World Health Organization (WHO) advised people not to wear facemasks. In June, however, the WHO reversed its position in light of “evolving evidence”, and put out guidance suggesting people should wear facemasks in public.

We have learned a lot about the coronavirus. We’ve learned that not only can asymptomatic individuals still be infectious, but also that it’s possible the virus can be spread by tiny particles suspended in air (particularly indoors). So, even if people have no symptoms, they could still be spreading the virus to others when they talk, laugh, sing, cough, sneeze, and so on. The WHO hopes that facemasks could help to reduce the risk of infection by trapping droplets when they leave our airways.

What does the science say? There is mounting scientific evidence that wearing masks could reduce infection rates. Some European countries have already made facemasks compulsory in closed public spaces. On the other hand, some experts warn that making masks mandatory could provoke a public backlash, and that persuasion is a better approach. There are also questions about how enforceable such a policy would be.

Should wearing facemasks in public be compulsory? Could they save lives? Would a mandatory facemask policy be enforceable? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: BigStock – (c) grigvovan


71 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

    • avatar
      Ana

      And why not?

    • avatar
      Maria

      Do you like compulsory things? Not me.

  1. avatar
    Suman

    Yes, because many people took it as game. So the people who care is difficult for them.

  2. avatar
    Maria

    Masks should be compulsory in indoor public spaces and in open spaces if there is a mass gathering of people. And there should be strict fines! I was recently travelling for work and what I saw makes me understand why some countries are doing better than others. Airport staff should have the authority to fine people not wearing masks at the airport or on the actual plane.

  3. avatar
    Osmen

    yes and with physical distance we can end this very soon

    • avatar
      Frano

      if we would be able to unite all people around the world to wear masks, wash hands, and keep the distance, the pandemic would be over in 3 weeks. However, I am afraid that many evil people do not have an interest in making the virus disappear, and many good people are just confused by everything that is happening right now.

  4. avatar
    Marina

    Whoever is afraid can lock themselves at home and let the rest live their lives. Young people should not and must not be made to pay other people’s insecurities.

    • avatar
      Frano

      Politicians and media should stop sending diametrically opposite messages daily, and scientists should stop using academic language when addressing the public. Simplify the messages, otherwise, this approach will lead to the spread of infection and the collapse of societies around the world. People need simple messages that are easy to understand: WEAR MASK, WASH HANDS, KEEP DISTANCE! This is the only way to stop the virus, but also to prevent the lockdown. Very evil people want to confuse the public so that they do not wear masks and thus contribute to the spreading of the virus. Then these evil people will be able to lock us down and do what they want. The choice we have is either masks or chipping. Whoever is against the mask is contributing to the project of chipping humans.

    • avatar
      Ntinos

      or else how too much freedom becomes a racket

    • avatar
      Marina

      You confuse freedom with promiscuity. Are you sure you understand the difference between the different concepts that words carry?

  5. avatar
    Gina

    Yes, of course. It’s called social mindfulness.

  6. avatar
    Panos

    It can’t be. Controlling the life’s of healthy people in public outdoor spaces is an ugly idea. Sick people can be locked in their house or hospital, it’s called quarantine, but no measures for healthy people can be imposed.
    And this new fashion of being sick without symptoms looks a little bit silly to me.

    • avatar
      David

      The idea is to stop you passing it on. People can have it without knowing m

    • avatar
      Geary

      people can be asymptomatic in that they themselves are not sick or ill but are however infectious and can infect others who are vulnerable.

    • avatar
      Panos

      health condition is among the strictest guarded personal data so nobody besides ones doctor knows is you are sick or not. The authorities and third parties can judge by themselves measuring (remotely) your temperature or listening if you are coughing or not. Nobody has permission to mark you in any way as potential spreader (without being Nazi or communist of course).

    • avatar
      Panos

      and nobody is sick before he knows or feels he is.

    • avatar
      Bogdan

      Lock yourself in the house.. for your safety :D

    • avatar
      Geary

      I don’t consider myself vulnerable but do take sensible precautions. Thanks anyway.

    • avatar
      Ana

      many types of cancer only are symptomatic when healing is difficult, and people were undoubtly ill long before feeling symptoms!

  7. avatar
    Piotr

    it should not, it must!
    please?
    for the sake of humanity, respect, sanity and science.

    • avatar
      Piotr

      Alma … ummm why?
      tell that hospital staff, tell it ambulance paramedics, tell that firefoghters, soldiers …
      Tell that everybody who works in Biotech (myself having been in S2 labs)
      BTW, do you take pills, medication?
      do you know how they are produced?
      google GMP:
      good manufacturing practise.
      Everybody on the production line, making medication, is wearing gloves, masks, coats, haircovers, shoecovers etc.
      For the whole shift.
      That’s for scientific reasons (ie. hygiene and cleanliness).
      so until we scientists come up with a vaccine or medication or cure, please don’t complain for wearing a mask, just wear it
      and stay safe

    • avatar
      Miguel

      This virus is a lab virus, why do you want to make a vaccine for a lab made virus. The way you speak you say you a scientist yet show no evidence of being one, at least one that has no second intentions.
      Also, the fear that the handling of the virus has caused is destroying peoples lives besides the immunologic lower substantially with the wearing of masks compulsively.
      The true heard immunity is when scientist think they know more than nature then try to transform everyone in what they think should be the way.

    • avatar
      Ana

      Miguel, your comment is a little confusing, mind explaining it better p. f.?

    • avatar
      Miguel

      To resume, we are in a World war were the weapons used basically are different from the previous wars. The control of population besides of the population control has got out of hand, misinformation has been the keyword by the media. If you want I can explain any specific part with my opinion, yet in resume its this.

    • avatar
      Ana

      conspiracy theories only in Hollywood and…… on virtual social media!
      A lie even repeated to exhaustion doesn’t turn into truth!
      It’s impossible to fool everyone at once and for a long time, Winston Churchill said. If I may advise you: read, read a lot and from many different sources. You’ll be better informed and I bet you’ll find it more interesting!

    • avatar
      Miguel

      exactly what I’ve been doing, try to do the same. We were bombed by incorrect information for many years, now the truth is coming to the top, this outbreak had been planned for years.

    • avatar
      Piotr

      sorry, but neither the virus nor the outbreak was planned.
      195something governments wordlwide which can’t agree on simple things like drivin on the same side of the road or doing the same taxes, duties, whatever laws … suddenly agree on a pandemic conspiracy?
      Geee, sorry, but please give me scientific evidence.

    • avatar
      Piotr

      which evidence do you want to see that I’m a scientist?
      Chemist, Biochemists, specialised in BioTech, Immunology and Cardiac-Research.
      What’s your speciality?

    • avatar
      Miguel

      Im a data manager, I manage peoples data in ways for them to think of diferente aspects of them that they hadnt imagined yet.
      Do research on the labs that worked on this virus before it came out, also think on how some people that got infected again after being cured, then ponder on the probability of it being from another lab. Yes, you will try to answer about the mutation, yet the immunologic system should have fought it off without symptoms.
      Also explain why the tests are made but sticking something up your nose when its said that it runs in the blood.

    • avatar
      Piotr

      so the immune system should have fought it off without symptoms?
      Tell that to those people who have HIV, Flu, Ebola …
      Have fun!
      Leave the facts to the scientists in the field of expertise.
      I won’t jump into your statistics either (only the one I did myself) ;-)

    • avatar
      Miguel

      typical problem with many scientists, they have a hard time expanding from the thoughts they have already created.

    • avatar
      Piotr

      you are not helping your case by generalising :-

    • avatar
      Miguel

      you not helping your case in blocking me lol
      Best Regards

    • avatar
      Piotr

      just extending accessrights to my page :-D
      I have enough conspirationists aroundme.

    • avatar
      Piotr

      but interesting that you don’t answer my questions and rather go for ad hominem :-D
      Not giving answers doesn’t help YOUR case.
      :-D

  8. avatar
    Michael

    Oh, no. Not public backlash! By all means, then, let more people become infected and die and allow our hospitals to break under the strain.

    • avatar
      Frano

      good one, however, very few people will understand your irony. This is the internet, not a group of intellectual debating in a room. We need simple messages for the general public.

    • avatar
      Michael

      I’ll let you take care of the simple messages for the general public, then. I simply don’t have the patience.

    • avatar
      Frano

      I understand you. I am also frustrated to that level that I just want to leave everything and go to the old barn in the mountains for the next 6-8 months.

    • avatar
      Michael

      Beyond the present pandemic, I genuinely despair for the sustainability of our democracies even in the short term given the dismal average intelligence of the electorate, and the resignation to and even expectation of that low calibre of thought. I’m quite convinced that liberal democracies will not be saved by pandering to the lowest common denominator, but rather ushered more quickly to their demise. We must expect more, not less, from our fellow citizens, or sooner or later we are going to lose our democracies and oligarchs will be left picking up the pieces.
      And at the risk of dating myself, back when I was in grade school understanding political satire was taught as a basic literacy skill – though apparently not very well! ;p

  9. avatar
    Alma

    wearing a mask all over the world during 6 month is end of the science.

  10. avatar
    Frano

    Politicians and media should stop sending diametrically opposite messages daily, and scientists should stop using academic language when addressing the public. Simplify the messages, otherwise, this approach will lead to the spread of infection and the collapse of societies around the world. People need simple messages that are easy to understand: WEAR MASK, WASH HANDS, KEEP DISTANCE! This is the only way to stop the virus, but also to prevent the lockdown. Very evil people want to confuse the public so that they do not wear masks and thus contribute to the spreading of the virus. Then these evil people will be able to lock us down and do what they want. The choice we have is either masks or chipping. Whoever is against the mask is contributing to the project of chipping humans.

  11. avatar
    David

    Have to wear mask on public transport and in shops in Scotland and there is no backlash, just a few people moaning.

  12. avatar
    Rajesh

    Leaders have to do the right thing not worrying about back lash..

  13. avatar
    João

    For sure, until an efficient vacin comes to the market!!

  14. avatar
    Yannick

    Come on. Slovakia just told it’s citizens to wear masks in public back in early march and nobody made a fuss. They published online videos on how to sew masks and next thing everyone had them on, with cool designs as a bonus. The real cherry on the cake is this: a total of 28 deaths for a population of 5.5million. And four months later you are still arguing about this? Let me tell you straight: idiocy kills too.

  15. avatar
    EU Reform-Proactive

    Watching the global Covid-19 debacle over the last 5 months- what has everyone learned or is learning?

    Does one wish to avoid a serious regression or collapse of the economy? Should one protect oneself from the consequential impact, while still having a choice & being alive? How valuable and desirable is a harmonious life for everyone?

    Of course, it makes sense to protect & safeguard as much as possible while trying to remain a productive wheel of the economy. Is there even one compelling argument not to use any sensible protection when in public or crowded places? I don’t think so! Ideally, it should be sought & requested by all- making law enforcement unnecessary.

    After following this weekend’s EU summit confirms once more Voltaire’s “Common sense is not so common”!

    https://philosiblog.com/2011/08/03/common-sense-is-not-so-common/

    How is it possible that some Eurocrats think to get away by giving a massive 500 billion euros in grants to members well known for their wastage, corruption & mismanagement or without consideration & permission from the donor’s taxpayers? Shocking & very disturbing!

    Thanks to “the concerned & sensible 4” standing up against the “irresponsible & reckless” twenty-something- It is showtime! High noon!

    https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/coronavirus-stimulus-eu-deadlocked-size-of-rescue-package-2020-7-1029409123#

    Please don’t forget that all national parliaments need to approve this EU/Merkel folly before anyone in the EU/EP may decide. Why was this EU dream not brought before all national parliaments first?

    Typical- seeking an EU Law on carrying masks but lawlessly wasting billions of euros- felt by all next generations!

  16. avatar
    Joanna Michalska

    Indoors – drfinitely yes, if it’s just advisable people don’t take it seriously.
    And even though it’s compulsory, people still do whatever they think is best for them. Let’s remind that wearing facemasks not only protects you but also the others, more vulnerable.

  17. avatar
    Amphib

    Not literally everywhere in public. That would be silly, as in the picture above. But in public transport for sure.

    • avatar
      Gabriela

      I think it’s necessary in crowded places such as squares, markets as well, even if it’s outside. For example, I went walking in a park with the face mask on as there were a lot of people passing me by. I mean, maybe it’s a bit paranoic, but you never know where you could get it from, unfortunately. :( However, if there are 2-3 people around, it should be ok without it, as long as you keep the distance too

    • avatar
      Gabriela

      Here, it’s already mandatory to wear a face mask in public transport and also recommended in the stations (bus, tram and underground train) and you are fined otherwise

  18. avatar
    Ana

    Yes it should because some of us seem to not be aware yet that we ALL live in a interdependent society, from global to local. In order to get the care we need, we have to care for others.
    I wear a mask everywhere because I don’t want to be contaminated and because I want to assure people I meet and come across that I’m doing my best not to contaminate anyone of them.
    We must build up a “society of care” at all levels and domains or we all will soon perish.
    These last months’ experience has provided all the evidence many of us still needed to better understand the profound complexity and vast interdependence of the society we live in.
    People who have experienced working at international level know that social phenomena may vary in intensity but are essentially the same in all latitudes.
    So stop being selfish, wear a mask!
    P.S. I would love to see such similar opposition when some governments in all continents reduce democratic rights, stop implementing human rights, encourage all sort of discrimination, dismantle environmental agencies, fire scientists, defund health and education services, while increasing “war budgets”, favouring corrupted business, and so on… Where were you??

  19. avatar
    Leopold

    Ofcourse it should. You have 99.6% chance of surviving it. All that can stop it should be mandatory

  20. avatar
    Gonças

    Public health should come before any other political issue and devide. Stop politicizing science and just do what is right by everyone whether people like it or not, at the end of the day there’ll always be haters and deniers.

  21. avatar
    Rajesh

    Its a good way to ptotest against the big btother facial recognition effort ..

  22. avatar
    Julia

    It seems a bit dramatic when you think of all the products have been touched, breathed on and likely covered with sprays of saliva.

  23. avatar
    jthk

    What troubling the West in using a facial mask during the pandermic is that mask has been used as a symbol to tease country lacking freedom of speech. Now, if the West put on the mask which means they are shutting up their mouth voluntarily before the pandermic. One more very important point is that China is the first country that was attacked by the Covid-2019. When the Chinese government told the people to use mask, the West said the Communist is forbidden their people to speak up. So, wearing a mask is like slapping face to people who always view China with coloured glasses and taking every opportunity to smear… If European people are worrying the decline of Europe, please reveal seriously what you have been doing for almost 70 years. Are you not focusing on attacking Communism and after the Cold War, you are attacking China. If politicians are wasting their time to watch China and use everything opportunity to boost your support by attacking China, what can you how do? how much can you do for your own people, your own country? When political leaders have such a pathetic vision, how can Europe make correct choice on everything without twisting the reality and logic? If “democratic”election turns out to choose who is more anti-China, what is the meaning of this pathetic “democratic election”? This is what happening in the US, people are dying but its president and secretary of state are watching China every the time. Who are they paying for?

  24. avatar
    jthk

    If people want to survive the pandermic, please give up your bias and see wearing facemask scientifically. Ideology is dead in this new era. Ideologies are for superpower confrontation and power competition. Nowadays, we are in a global era and virus has no national boundary. It is a fact that the virus does not attack only yellow people. Be rational, logical and scientific!

Your email will not be published

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Notify me of new comments. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our Privacy Policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them.