Hi everyone

I have picked up my pen (metaphorically) and attempted so many subjects for this blog Afghanistan, climate change, this government and Covid and I have not been able to find the time to do the research so there’s been a long gap between this and my last post here on My Other Blog. But I have just written a very long reply to someone on my fashion blog, which I though worth adapting and expanding a bit for this blog.

The commenter was not against mask-wearing,but wondered why we had to wear masks when the current wave of Covid in the UK was all about the unvaccinated, so surely the vaccinated could now live a normal life without masks?

How I wish, but for the vulnerable, the old and indeed for anyone, what I think is happening is that the government is not giving people the information they need.

First of all, a critical question to ask yourself is when did you have your 2nd vaccination? Was it over 6 months ago? If so your immunity is waning fast and you need that booster. But this time around the UK vaccination programme is dragging its heels and for, whatever reason, is not vaccinating as fast as the vaccines got pumped into arms the first time round. That means that the boosters are not keeping up with the 2 million of the population who are getting to their 6-month point and  past it and are still without a booster, and that’s 2 million every week. So that is one of the reasons why cases have risen over the last month or so.

Reasons for the slowing down of the vaccine programme for first-timers as well as boosters are unclear. There’s hesitancy, yes, and outright, crazy beliefs, but the vaccinators have been doing this for sometime now, so there must be some tiredness coming in there. Then there might be the view, why do I need a booster?  I’ve had the two vaccines, surely that’s enough.  No it isn’t. But there are also hints that there are fewer vaccines available so the slow take-up is not just about people being slow, vaccine stock is low.

By the way, I get most of my information from the scientist Professor Tim Spector of King’s College London who is the founder of the Zoe Covid study, which has had up to 5 million participants who participate through an app on ones iPhone. Mr F and I, we participate and log our (non-existent) symptoms onto this app. We also log our vaccines including the booster and any symptoms we had after vaccination. And we should also log our Lateral Flow tests but I’m afraid I don’t as they’ve all been negative.

Anyway as this study hears about its many participants’ symptoms logged in real time, it is the foremost provider of information about Covid in the UK which, I have to say, the government mostly ignores. However, Professor Spector isn’t always a harbinger of doom as the study has just announced today (5th Nov) that just maybe this current wave has peaked as there seems to be a plateauing of Covid amongst the teens who were driving this current wave, but the picture is mixed as Covid is increasing in the over-55s.

So why do I and why does Professor Spector want everyone to wear masks. Well, of course, we can all catch Covid and pass it on even though we are vaccinated, and yes, one’s symptoms will probably be reduced so this mitigates against hospitalisation and death, but even so there is a risk that the vulnerable and over 70s (that includes me) might be hospitalised and die, so no thanks, to that!

But the worst aspect of the government’s behaviour is that they have ignored the Zoe Covid study evidence that the Delta symptoms have changed to:

1. Headache
2. Runny nose
3. Sneezing
4. Sore throat
5. Cough
6. Loss of smell

Fever is even further down the list, but as the general population doesn’t really know about this there will be many Covid cases walking around thinking they’ve got a cold, not knowing they’re infecting everyone. (And btw, see the many very interesting Zoe Covid study YouTube sessions of which one is the difference between a cold and Covid).

Also as well as the government not changing its advice, it does not give out PCR tests to anyone other than those who have the classic symptoms. Meanwhile the Zoe Covid study does give out free PCR tests to those who have the new symptoms and their case numbers last week were far nearer to the 100,000 a day that we have been warned is when the government might act.

So why wear a mask? There is enough evidence out there to say that the medical masks prevent those who have Covid from giving it to others, and any mask helps to reduce the viral load, so you wear a mask to stop giving it to other people and I wear a mask to prevent giving it to you. And one also wears a mask because there will be many who are totally asymptomatic, who breathe over one and all, so just a simple mandatory policy of ‘wear a mask’, OK, mainly indoors, which so many other countries around the world are doing, is actually the kindest thing to do to your population as even if the infected person is not wearing a mask, if you wear a mask you are slightly more protected than if you don’t wear a mask. .

So there you have it. Oh and by the way, the government has changed the way you get the (still free) Lateral Flow tests.  You can’t just get them from your chemist, instead you have to log in to a website and get a code. It’s fiddly and I’m very tech savvy and managed it but both Mr F and I thought it would put a lot of people off getting the test packs. You rather wonder why?!

Altogether I think the government is behaving in a near criminal way, I mean forget the old (and include me in that category at 75) for heaven’s sake the death rate of all ages is still averaging around 1000 a week and amongst those age groupings children and young people are dying. It seems the government is doing nothing to stop this country going down the herd immunity route, which in actuality means far more people are dying than they should. It’ll be more than 50,000 a year, a number which could be reduced if we just did what so many other countries did and still do – and that is make mask wearing compulsory. End of!

Penny Kocher, 5th November 2021

P.S. Having said on my fashion blog that I’m not doing anything indoors anywhere because of all of the above, I have booked us into a local independent cinema to watch No Time To Die – huzzah!  I agree that we have to try and live normal lives and do risk assessments and I just love the cinema, and it is in the afternoon on a Monday, and so far there’s only us and two other people in the cinema – I think it will do!!

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9 thoughts on “Do you think mask-wearing should be mandatory in England?

  • 5th November 2021 at 14:49
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    Yes, yes, yes, we should be wearing masks indoors, on buses, on trains, and in crowded places. I so agree with you. My husband and I travelled to Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago. I was relieved to see at our crowded station – there had been an incident further down the line, so huge delays – that most people though not all were wearing masks. On the train they mostly were not, until we crossed the border when the train manager made an announcement telling us that it was now mandatory as we were in Scotland! How sensible. We felt so much safer in Edinburgh than at home. Everywhere we went, in shops, restaurants, even in the streets, people were wearing masks. It really isn’t such an imposition is it? As for vaccination refuseniks! I despair at them. I’ve fortunately had my booster, together with the flu jab one in each arm just after we returned. My local surgery texted me and I was able to follow a link and book online, very easily. However my husband volunteers at another vaccination centre and he has met lots of people desperate for their booster who seem to have been thwarted at every turn. Fortunately they are now operating as a drop in centre for boosters. Despite this despicable government crowing about vaccine success, they certainly don’t seem to be managing things at all well now. I hope people don’t forget – or forgive!

    Reply
    • 9th November 2021 at 08:21
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      Scotland and Wales are lucky to have First Ministers who are articulate and sensible and have put in place the proper regs that most of us want. I think the vaccine programme has very much slowed down and not because of people being reluctant. I’m not sure why it has slowed, but supply is definitely a factor. Things were much better organised when Kate Bingham was in charge of procurement.

      As for the government, it is such a disaster – no words are sufficient as everything they touch is ghastly. Thanks Kathy – we think alike!

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  • 5th November 2021 at 15:08
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    There is also a good case for denying entry to public spaces such as cinemas etc to people who do not have evidence of vaccination or recent negative test. I went up to London last week to a matinee of The Mirror and the Light, and was pleased that everyone had to show their Covid passport, and wear a mask – very reassuring.

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    • 9th November 2021 at 08:17
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      I’m in complete agreement with you and think a Covid passport is absolutely the way forward. Glad you enjoyed the Mirror and the Light and were reassured by the theatre’s regulations.

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  • 5th November 2021 at 17:48
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    I have no idea as we are not given facts. I wear a mask in shops and public transport, but still go to cafes where I do not wear a mask.
    It is beyond comprehension that I cannot catch Covid ifI m sitting in a restaurant and I am having a meal out – yet if I sit in the same chair without a mask and no food, I could get Covid.
    So I reckon there is a risk if you do not wear a mask – but the govt are trying not to bankrupt buiness so are telling us ‘it is OK not to wear a mask if you are eating in a restaurant’?
    As a capitalist I would argue that the Govt is daft as if all a restaurant’s clients are dead from Covid – then their business will also ‘die’.

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  • 6th November 2021 at 17:07
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    I just cannot see what the problem is with wearing a mask. Yes, spectacle wearers steam up ( I’m a spec wearer) , they get a bit irritating, lips dry etc but as someone who is suffering and I mean suffering from long Covid , wearing a mask is really not such a big thing!
    I have been on a bus recently, a couple in their 60’s maybe? Certainly old enough to know better, sat behind, he was coughing, I felt so uncomfortable wondering whether any of his ‘droplets’ might land on me. I don’t think I was being paranoid.
    Last night at a theatre , although most people did wear masks and we were asked to, there were some who didn’t and I really felt they were making some sort of daft protest, one man getting far too close to me.
    It does remind me of the time when the wearing of seat belts became mandatory, also when smoking was banned in public places, what a hooha! Now we think nothing of it!
    Is this ‘ protest’ a peculiarly English trait I wonder?

    Reply
    • 9th November 2021 at 08:14
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      I’m so sorry you’re suffering from Long Covid which sounds awful to have – I trust you heal eventually.

      I feel the same as you, wearing masks is not a problem, what is lacking is the leadership to make us compliant. I mean do you remember how compliant we all were right at the beginning of the pandemic? Although there wasn’t much mask-wearing we all went into a very tight lockdown and the entire nation was on board and behind that. But our leadership now doesn’t want anything other than normality based on herd immunity. We are to behave normally and never mind the ‘few’ who get Covid.

      Because above all we have to be different to Europe and Asia where people are wearing masks. Now that I think is Johnson and his ilk who have a very particular view of Englishness (because one can’t include the Scots or the Welsh in this) which is that there is something about ‘us’ that is different. This is ‘English Exceptionalism’ and it is not a trait to be admired. Fortunately I haven’t got a drop of English blood in me as I have had my DNA sampled (through Ancestry) and I’m nearly all Scots with a tiny bit of Northern Irish, so I can honestly say I think this English Exceptionalism is the pits!!!!!!

      Thanks so much for your comment and I do hope you feel better soon.

      Reply
  • 7th November 2021 at 15:04
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    I have just returned from five weeks in France where mask wearing is mandatory in many places and certainly in the area where we were. We had to show our Covid passes continuously and on our journey home, we spent the night in Tours. We arrived at a local restaurant and I realised I had left my phone charging in our room at the Airbnb. Of course, and quite rightly, I wasn’t allowed entrance. No wonder the numbers are so much lower than in the UK. Knowing France well, what surprises me is how complicit (most) French people are in this situation. They are generally far more ‘bolshie’ than we are about ‘freedom’. Obviously, I’m making sweeping generalisations but I can’t understand why our government is able to get away with so much. Have we really become so apathetic as a nation? And as for the results of Brexit – don’t get me started!

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    • 9th November 2021 at 08:03
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      Yes, we’ve got a friend living permanently in France and he has told us many times how different it is in France with everyone complying with the mandatory mask-wearing plus the vaccine passports needed to do anything. How I wish we were more like that instead we have a leader who goes around a hospital and sits next to 95-yr-old David Attenborough all without wearing a mask and to top that Parliament has many cases – it’s just so shocking and yet that party is still 1 point ahead in the polls. I am beyond perplexed as to why the Tory party is still seen as OK by so many!!!!!

      Reply

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