Coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19, has now spread to more than 30 countries and as cases continue to swell, particularly in Europe, people have resorted to wearing face masks as a means of protection. Sales of face masks surged by 846 percent in the UK last month but a public health professor has branded the measure “completely useless”. Professor Robert Dingwall, a researcher at Nottingham Trent University, told Express.co.uk: “There is no point in wearing face masks because they don’t protect you.”
He said their main use of the masks is to prevent people who are already poorly from spreading the illness.
Professor Dingwall said: “There is a small value if you have a cough or a sneeze in preventing transmission from you to somebody else but it does not prevent you from inhaling virus particles.
“The weave is too coarse and the virus particles are so small they can jump straight through it.
“Or they go round the edge because it doesn’t fit tightly.”
The expert went on to say the only measure that is “genuinely protective” are the hazmat suits worn by medical professionals.
He added: “For the mass of the population wearing face masks achieves nothing and that’s the scientific evidence that’s the recommendation of the UK department of health.”
Instead, the professor advised Britons to practice basic personal hygiene and self-isolate if you become unwell and think you have a respiratory infection.
He also warned the prevalence of face masks provokes “an epidemic of fear alongside the epidemic of the virus”.
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Professor Dingwall’s comments were echoed by the World Health Organization (WHO) doctor Margaret Harris.
Speaking on LBC, she said: “We don’t recommend wearing a face mask unless you are coughing or sneezing a lot.
“People misunderstand the face mask. They think it is about protecting themselves, but it’s actually about protecting others if you are producing a lot of respiratory droplets.”
It comes as England confirmed two more Britons had contracted COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to 15.
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The patients caught the deadly virus after travelling to Italy and Tenerife.
They have been taken to specialist NHS infection centres in Liverpool and London.
England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said: “Two further patients in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of UK cases to 15.
“The virus was passed on in Italy and Tenerife and the patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres in Royal Liverpool Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital, London.”
At the end of January Amazon revealed the sale of disposable masks jumped to the top of their best-seller list, with £39 packs of 50 disposable masks the fastest-selling item in the beauty category.
Sales of the packs jumped 846 percent on the last day of January, as people started to panic-buy the product.
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