Strong encouragement of mask use is a proportionate intervention

Boethius
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:32 am

Strong encouragement of mask use is a proportionate intervention

Post by Boethius »

It is difficult not to get polarised.
I am extremely anti lockdown but this not only requires is to challenge the dominant narrative that over states risk of Covid, but it also requires engagement with reality- coronaphobia, existing transmission etc.

I believe mask use is a relatively small price to pay if it enables people to move around freely.
I sometimes get drawn into the mask debate but it seems if part of our difficulty with lockdown is that it apportioned burden in an uncomfortable way, it is also a civic duty to engage where we can with transmission control to enable greater freedoms.
Would like feedback on this.

Kevin_Sceptic
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:04 am

Re: Strong encouragement of mask use is a proportionate intervention

Post by Kevin_Sceptic »

I've heard this argument before; "if it allows us to open up, why not wear a mask?".

In my opinion there are several arguments:

I don't believe it should be down to the government to dictate what you should do and how much risk you should take. That should be your own decision.
I don't think the state of the virus as it stands now warrants the restrictions that we have in place.
I don't believe that the efficacy of wearing a mask justifies actually wearing one under these circumstances.

The factors that are actually stopping the country from "opening up" are, not the wearing or otherwise of masks, but the fear (that the government and the MSM have cultivated), the government restrictions, and the public's willingness to go along with them.

As these things subside, the situation will return to normal. We've been hit by more serious pandemics in the past, and this one will pass too. Unfortunately, on this occasion, I believe the government has shot itself in the foot.

Hairyscot1314
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2020 7:35 am

Re: Strong encouragement of mask use is a proportionate intervention

Post by Hairyscot1314 »

I agree with concerns about the polarisation of debate and I remain open to persuasion on the benefits or otherwise of mask wearing. However, I find mask wearing to be uncomfortable after any length of time and that it dehumanises normal personal contact. So surely our starting point should be a bias against against enforced wearing of masks unless evidence (please, some evidence, any evidence) shows that in general public use mask wearing reduces transmission of the virus? Carl Heneghan and others have made clear their view that such evidence is either very limited or non existent. We have also been made aware that the WHO came under political pressure to alter their advice on mask wearing.

I can't share the view that is "self evident" that wearing face masks in a public setting will reduce virus transmission. Indeed my own recent (decidedly non scientific!) observations have led me to wonder whether general mask wearing will instead create a new vector for transmission.

I have recently returned from a trip to Greece. The journey entailed several hours of enforced mask wearing on transport. After being worn for some time, masks become uncomfortably warm and damp, both inside and out, which leads to masks being frequently touched by the wearer to adjust and allow for better breathing. A virus carrier's mask will become damp on the outside - particularly in warm conditions - and then a touch on the outside to adjust will spread the virus to hands and elsewhere.

I don't agree that the enforced wearing of masks is a small price to pay, particularly in the absence of any good evidence whatsoever that they provide one iota of benefit. We surely need this debate to be guided by some real world investigation and analysis, rather than being handed down orders by an incompetent government which is desperate to create an impression of being in control?

NeilW
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:07 am

Re: Strong encouragement of mask use is a proportionate intervention

Post by NeilW »

"I believe mask use is a relatively small price to pay if it enables people to move around freely."

Given there is barely 25,000 cases in the country why should millions of people restrict their freedoms when the actual problem is that people can't do statistics properly and do risk assessment in their lives.

Naturally there is no data to show that wearing masks has had any effect on transmission in aggregate - largely because it is statistically very unlikely to do so and the areas of mask use weren't the vectors of transmission anyway - or they would have been prior to masks.

It's a classic fallacy of composition. The assumption is that every human you come in contact with is deadly, and it is that assumption we have to challenge.

The whole problem with current society is pandering to people who act hysterically.

We should know from history that appeasement doesn't work. Eventually you have to let the toddler have their tantrum and let them learn they get nothing if they behave like that.

Otherwise you end up with a nation of grown-up toddlers always demanding more.

Max
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri May 22, 2020 6:24 pm

Re: Strong encouragement of mask use is a proportionate intervention

Post by Max »

I think the original poster raises a good question, that of proportionality.
As Lord Sumption said, a restriction on liberty such as lockdown, involving restrictions on travel, freedom of association, and what businesses are allowed to open, needs to be justified by overwhelming evidence as to its necessity/effectiveness in order to be just.
But following this logic, smaller infringements on liberty are justifiable with lesser evidence of benefit.
I would agree that (considered in isolation, if there were no other restrictions) wearing a mask is a relatively small restriction - no worse than (say) mandatory wearing of a hat. And so even if there was only evidence of marginal benefit, it possibly could be justified.
Of course, this hinges on mask wearing being a 'minor' inconvenience, as claimed by its proponents. Many people (myself included) find masks highly uncomfortable, and also undesirable for psychological reasons as much as medical ones. But it is fair that the question of proportionality be debated.

Sussex Fox

Re: Strong encouragement of mask use is a proportionate intervention

Post by Sussex Fox »

The whole scam doesn't add up! The figures (even the dodgy massaged and ultimately recalibrated ones) all suggest we're making progress and yet the restrictions are being ramped up (masks in supermarkets, talk of a 2nd lockdown) And if, for example, in a coffee shop, a takeaway customer DOES have to wear a mask but a dining customer DOESN'T, does this not fly in the face of logic? Surely if it's humans transmitting the virus, the virus can't discriminate between 2 types of customer? And if the coffee shop is within a shopping centre, the previously unmasked diner now has to re don his/her mask? Sorry, I'm not buying this hoax!

joshuag
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2020 5:48 pm

Re: Strong encouragement of mask use is a proportionate intervention

Post by joshuag »

Yeah I'm not buying this hoax either! Masks are so uncomfortable and it's not fair! Yesterday, for example, I was wearing one in the supermarket and it made my face a bit itchy so I had to scratch it! Bloody bureaucrats infringing on my civil liberties :x :x

Boethius
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:32 am

Re: Strong encouragement of mask use is a proportionate intervention

Post by Boethius »

Thank you for responses everyone.
I am also a big fan of Sumption. Major interventions need to be justified on available evidence (not models etc). I feel we should really consider strongly what our objections to face masks are. There are cultural objections which I think should be overcome in a public health crisis, and if this enables the avoidance of greater interventions (restrictions of people contact for example), I would be in favour of strong encouragement (although not mandated).

I have been persuaded by a couple of things.
- The jurisdictions which have dealt with the emergency both proportionately AND effectively seem to wear facemasks (Taiwan, HK).
- It is just plainly more considerate to more vulnerable people to limit one's own contagion and it would not be a liberal position to limit other people's freedoms (ie making them feel unsafe in shops) because one finds a facemask uncomfortable for psychological or cultural reasons.


I also find that when I am not anti face mask when talking to the 'mainstream' opinion on Covid management (ie pro lockdown), they are more likely to consider that I am not ideologically motivated and see proportionality as the main criteria for intervention.

However I also recognise the point that the wearing of facemasks is pretty pointless from an individual perspective and I have my doubts as it may also play into the daily visual reminders of the dominant scare narrative.

Face2Face
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2020 7:42 am

Re: Strong encouragement of mask use is a proportionate intervention

Post by Face2Face »

In view of mask wearing representing a profound cultural change, for me there would have to be overwhelming evidence of significant benefits to justify making it mandatory, as has been done. The weak evidence that exists is nowhere near this benchmark, and is in fact countered by evidence that masks can be harmful.

Kevin_Sceptic
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:04 am

Re: Strong encouragement of mask use is a proportionate intervention

Post by Kevin_Sceptic »

NeilW wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 7:39 am ...The assumption is that every human you come in contact with is deadly, and it is that assumption we have to challenge.

The whole problem with current society is pandering to people who act hysterically.

We should know from history that appeasement doesn't work. Eventually you have to let the toddler have their tantrum and let them learn they get nothing if they behave like that.

Otherwise you end up with a nation of grown-up toddlers always demanding more.
I agree wholeheartedly. "If you don't do this, you will die." It's nonsense, we know it's nonsense, yet this is what some people actually believe.

The "masks work", "masks don't work" debate is a red herring. Peter Hitchens has it nailed when he says you might as well wear a hard hat in case something falls on your head. (Except of course that a hard hat will actually protect you!)

I am very much afraid that the UK is already inhabited by (not so) grown-up toddlers.

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