Home UK News Royal Society chief: not wearing masks should be as taboo as drink-driving

Royal Society chief: not wearing masks should be as taboo as drink-driving

Venki Ramakrishnan has called for everyone in the UK to be required to wear a mask in all public indoor settings, rather than them only being worn on public transport

The President of the Royal Society has said that refusing to wear a mask in public during the COVID-19 pandemic should become as socially unacceptable as drink-driving or not wearing a seatbelt.

Venki Ramakrishnan has called for everyone in the UK to be required to wear a mask in all public indoor settings, rather than them only being worn on public transport, and has criticised the government’s confused messaging.

Royal Society chief: not wearing masks should be as taboo as drink-driving
People pictured wearing face masks in Brixton, south London

The head of the UK’s national academy of sciences has spoken on the matter, following the release of two reports exploring the effectiveness of masks wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One, which updates work carried out by Data Evaluation and Learning for Viral Epidemics (DELVE), which is a multi-disciplinary group assembled by the Royal Society, has uncovered valuable evidence that shows that they could be helpful in reducing the risk of transmission of the coronavirus, providing benefits to the wearer as well as people around them.

At least three different establishments in England announced that they were closing, following cases of the coronavirus, just days after the, ‘Super Saturday’ re-openings that were permitted on the weekend.

Ramakrishnan said: “Wearing a mask did not bother our Italian, French or Spanish neighbours; none of whom were used to wearing one before the pandemic, yet now do so routinely.”

“So just treat it as another item of clothing that is part of the new normal and wear it whenever you cannot socially distance safely. It is the right thing to do, and a small price to pay, to help keep infections down and the economy open in the pandemic.”

Ramakrishnan added that many people were even ignoring the requirement to wear masks on public transport.

“The message has not been clear enough, so perhaps people do not really understand the benefits or are not convinced of them. Whatever the reasons, we need to overcome our reservations and wear face coverings whenever we are around others in public.”

Royal Society chief: not wearing masks should be as taboo as drink-driving
Venki Ramakrishnan, The President of the Royal Society

“It used to be quite normal to have quite a few drinks and drive home, and it also used to be normal to drive without seatbelts. Today, both of those would be considered antisocial, and not wearing face coverings in public should be regarded in the same way.”

“If all of us wear one, we protect each other and thereby ourselves, reducing transmission. We lower the chances of future surges and lockdowns which are economically and psychologically disruptive, and we increase the chance of eliminating the virus. Not doing so increases the risk for everyone, from NHS workers to your grandmother.”

In June both the World Health Organisation, as well as The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States had issued an updated set of guidance recommending everyone to wear face coverings when in public areas where there is a risk of transmission of COVID-19, in order to help reduce the spread of the disease.

This comes after Health leaders in the UK have called for a “rapid and forward-looking assessment” of the state of national preparedness for a second wave.

Eve Cooper
Eve Cooper
I've been writing articles and stories for as long as I can remember and in the past few years I've had the fortune of turning that love & passion for writing into my job 🙂

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