WHO on the "social and psychological acceptance" of Face Masks


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On June 8 2020 The World Health Organization updated their position on face masks, yet they still admitted "the widespread use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not yet supported by high quality or direct scientific evidence and there are potential benefits and harms to consider...the use of a mask alone is insufficient to provide an adequate level of protection". [PDF here.]

Yet they included a variety of other revealing reasons for recommending face masks. Basically they say it's for psychological acceptance and social conditioning. Amazing stuff:


Potential benefits/advantages The likely advantages of the use of masks by healthy people in the general public include:

• reduced potential stigmatization of individuals wearing masks to prevent infecting others (source control) or of people caring for COVID-19 patients in non-clinical settings;

• making people feel they can play a role in contributing to stopping spread of the virus;

...potential social and economic benefits. Amidst the global shortage of surgical masks and PPE, encouraging the public to create their own fabric masks may promote individual enterprise and community integration. Moreover, the production of non-medical masks may offer a source of income for those able to manufacture masks within their communities.

Fabric masks can also be a form of cultural expression, encouraging public acceptance of protection measures in general.

consider the feasibility of use, supply/access issues, social and psychological acceptance (of both wearing and not wearing different types of masks in different contexts);

• continue gathering scientific data and evidence on the effectiveness of mask use (including different types and makes as well as other face covers such as scarves) in non-health care settings;

• evaluate the impact (positive, neutral or negative) of using masks in the general population (including behavioral and social sciences).

WHO encourages countries and community adopting policies on masks use in the general public to conduct good quality research to assess the effectiveness of this intervention to prevent and control transmission.

See also WHO 6/8/20: "The widespread use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not yet supported by high quality or direct scientific evidence"

Here's the full WHO press conference on face masks on 6/5/20

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