Many people are considering wearing masks. Most medical professionals do not advise that masks are required in the UK. Another concern is that purchasing masks will reduce the number of masks available for frontline healthcare workers. Remember, the vast majority of infections are caught by coming into contact with droplets that have been deposited on surfaces rather than being directly breathed in from the air.
Some scientists suggest you are at a bigger risk if you wear a mask, because if you wear it incorrectly and keep having to fiddle with it, you are more likely to transfer particles to your face. Getting the correct mask is not trivial, and some are not fully flush to the face so may not provide full protection.
If you have a case of coronavirus, a mask may help reduce the chance of virus particles being transferred from you to your surroundings. Masks may also be advisable if you are caring for someone with coronavirus, as they could sneeze or cough at any time. However, as we’ve mentioned, getting the correct mask is not trivial and ensuring a tight and correct fit on your face isn’t always easy.
Washing your hands and thinking about how you contact others is much more important. Unless advised by the Chief Medical Officer, the NHS, your public health authority, or a healthcare professional, masks are not specifically being recommended for this outbreak.