The wearing of face masks is such a contentious issue. The internet is awash with videos of arguments and fights breaking out because of the need to enforce wearing face coverings.
As a brand, we are very clear on our position: face masks/coverings have a part to play in suppressing the transmission of the COVID-19 disease and therefore should be worn to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Here's the science:
An experiment using high-speed video found that hundreds of droplets ranging from 20 to 500 micrometers were generated when saying a simple phrase, but that nearly all these droplets were blocked when the mouth was covered by a damp washcloth.
In another study of people that had influenza, it was found that wearing a face-covering significantly reduced the amount of the respiratory viruses emitted in droplets.
In simple terms, face coverings stopped some of the virus spreading.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a non-partisan health organisation recommends that all healthy children and adults wear a mask, except for children under 2 (we suggest that children under the age of 3 shouldn't wear Unhinged London face masks).
The CDC also suggests that people who have trouble breathing or unable to remove a mask by themselves don't need to wear a face covering.
The World Health Organisation stresses that people shouldn't buy medical grade face masks to ensure adequate stocks of PPE for healthcare workers.
Here are 8 more reasons you should be wearing a face mask:
1. If correctly worn, they reduce viral transmission
That means washing your hands before putting on your face mask and ensuring that it covers your nose and mouth once in place.
The Allergy and Asthma network say:
Surgical masks and cloth coverings can reduce viral transmission by 70% if everyone wears them and wears them correctly over [their] nose and mouth.
Your face mask should fit snugly against your skin and should remain in place until you leave the public setting.
2. Face masks prevent asymptomatic spread
Up to 50% of transmission happens before people develop any COVID-19 symptoms! We can safely assume that no-one deliberately sets out to infect another person with the coronavirus, so wearing a mask will ensure that we don't spread the disease before we are aware we have it.
Face masks prevent the wearer from infecting others when asymptomatic, making it just as important a precaution as social distancing and washing your hands.
Masks are acts of altruism; you are not protecting yourself by wearing a mask.
3. We're in this together
Researchers have noted that everyone wearing a face mask will have the biggest impact on reducing the transmission of coronavirus.
At the time of writing this, in the UK, there have been more than 60,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic. It has been suggested that many of these deaths could have been prevented had 95% of the addressable population been wearing face coverings.
4. It's good hygiene
Medical professionals from surgeons to dentists were wearing masks to protect themselves from droplets, germs, and illness as well to prevent spreading their own germs, even before pandemic. In many cultures, wearing a mask when one is ill or has allergies is a sign of respect for others. Wearing a mask to protect yourself is normal, and simply good hygiene when in a high-risk situation.
5. It may help the economy recover
Masks could offer an economic recover too. A report released by investment firm Goldman Sachs found that a national face mask mandate could serve as a substitute for lockdowns “that would otherwise subtract nearly 5 percent from GDP".
Lockdowns have brought the UK economy to a halt (like many other economies around the world). Since the start of the lockdown more than 1.69 million people have filed for unemployment.
The widespread use of face masks, however, could significantly slow the growth rate of virus cases and help keep businesses open and keep people in employment.
6. What are the alternatives?
At the time of writing this, 2 vaccines are being rolled out across the UK: the Pfizer vaccine and the Oxford/Astra-Zeneca vaccine was released a few days ago. But given the sheer numbers of people that need to be vaccinated to help prevent the transmission of the disease, we need to stick to the strategies that work:
a. Washing hands
b. maintaining social distance
c. wearing a face covering in public
The effort is minimal compared to the benefit. It's the cheapest, easiest intervention for the effect that it provides, for the degree of protection that it provides.
7. Get back to enjoying our freedoms
Who misses going for a nice meal, a few drinks with friends, a nightclub, cinema, foreign travel...?
These may seem trivial in the grand scheme of things but they're so important to our mental health and to our way of life that it would be remiss not to mention it here. The more of us that wear masks, the sooner we'll be able to get back to doing things we love - safely.
8. It's a form of self-expression
For those more creative and artistic among us wearing a mask presents a whole new opportunity to introduce fun colours and patterns to our wardrobe. It's another opportunity to express our personalities. Unhinged London has a range of colours and styles to help you cover your face while keeping your identity.