curve, is mind boggling."
That includes learning that there may never be proof of the effectiveness
of wearing mask.
"Hui adds that the lack of solid evidence supporting the effectiveness
of masks against the virus is no reason to dismiss its use, because
there may never be definitive scientific proof. A properly controlled
study would be impossible to conduct ethically, he explains. “You can’t
randomize people to not wear a mask, and some to wear a mask, and
then expose them all to the virus,” he says.
Wearing a mask, she explains, has become a “symbol and a tool of
protection and solidarity”—even if research proving their efficacy
is lacking. “Mask wearing is not always a medical decision for many
people, but bound up in sociocultural practice,” she adds.
Other random notes
There are other benefits in more widespread use of masks. Shan
Soe-lin, a lecturer in public health at Yale University,
said the sight of everyone in masks can stimulate behavioural
change by signalling the seriousness of the pandemic and
the need for protection.
“It reduces stigma and encourages others to wear masks, which
further amplifies the collective benefits,” she added.
Researchers have known for a long time that people are susceptible to
"behavioral mimicry," meaning we're quick to copy those around us.
“Unfortunately, social stigma, blame and discrimination are
recurrent phenomenas during outbreaks over history,”
Schoch-Spana says. “It’s really tied up in the fact that people
often need to fix blame during an outbreak of a contagious disease.”
Social media has also helped people to share their experiences and
raise awareness of what is happening, an important component in
combating racism and xenophobia.
“There’s also, actually, a more frequent impulse to stand together
in a community to deal with a potential infectious disease.”
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