diamond geezer

 Monday, April 27, 2020

Masks are interesting.

Specifically whether or not we should be wearing one.
And, perhaps more interestingly, why some people think they know whether we should be wearing one or not.

Which is why today I'd like you to post me a six-digit number.
• Here are six aspects of mask-wearing, each with a scale of five options.
Decide which option is closest to what you believe.
Create a six digit-number from your choices, e.g. 324511
Post it in the comments.
3pm update: We've now had 280 responses (blimey, thanks!)
...so I've added the results below, plus some commentary.


First question, are you wearing a mask when you go out?

1
Will never
wear one
4%
2
Will wear one
if told to
56%
3
Might start
wearing one
24%
4
Have started
wearing one
14%
5
Was already
wearing one
2%

An easy one to start with, you either are or you aren't. And if you aren't already, three of the options ask you to consider whether you might later.

Results: Most people aren't wearing masks and will only start wearing them if they become compulsory. Another quarter are thinking about wearing them anyway. Only one in six have started already. A small minority (4%) assert that they will never wear one.

Second question, what's your motivation for wearing a mask?

1
Wear one to
protect self
5%
2
Wear one to
feel safe
6%
3
Wear one to
protect all
45%
4
Wear one to
avoid guilt
18%
5
Wear one to
protect others
26%

I suspect there's considerable divergence amongst the wider population on why wearing a mask is a good idea. Some will be doing it to protect themselves, while others are only doing it so their coughs and sneezes don't infect others. Option three is the balanced answer, but if one of the others is your prime motivation, be honest.

Results: Almost half of you went for the middle option, believing that masks help yourself and those around you. A quarter think they best protect others, while only 10% think masks are more about protecting themselves. I suspect this latter percentage is higher amongst the wider population.

Third question, why do you believe we should (or shouldn't) wear a mask?

1
Masks are unhealthy
3%
2
The science says 'unproven'
40%
3
It can't hurt
to wear one
40%
4
The science says wear one
15%
5
Obviously we must wear one
2%

Your underlying understanding of the science behind mask-wearing will inform your decision here... unless of course your opinion is more instinctive.

Results: This is possibly the most intriguing finding - options 2 and 3 have equal support. 40% of you take the view that the safety aspects of mask-wearing are unproven, while another 40% say it can't hurt to wear one. It's science versus instinct... highlighting two very different strands within the population. The government is currently siding with the scientists. Another 15% reckon that science does prove the need for masks, which is the joy of selective evidence. Meanwhile 3% reckon that mask-wearing is actively unhealthy... the same percentage who say they'll never wear one.

Fourth question, when out in public, what do you think of those not wearing masks?

1
Angry when others aren't wearing one
½%
2
Tut when others aren't wearing one
1%
3
Sigh when others aren't wearing one
3%
4
Notice when others aren't wearing one
41%
5
It's not
something
that registers
55%

This is going to depend on where you are and what you're doing... but imagine you're out on the street, or in the supermarket, or on a bus, or whatever is the riskiest thing you currently do.

Results: We are not a nation of angry tutters, despite the view certain newspapers might offer. The only person angered by people not wearing masks lives in Germany where it's now compulsory. Instead the big divide is between those who consciously register that people aren't wearing masks and those who don't. I'm surprised by quite how many people are noticing something that isn't there.

Fifth question, what kind of mask do you, or would you, use?

1
Make do
with a scarf
16%
2
Make my
own mask
23%
3
Buy a
new mask
35%
4
Already own
a mask
21%
5
Hardcore
professional
5%

I'm intrigued by countries which have made mask-wearing compulsory, because we don't all have one lying around at home. If it happened here, what would you use? Option 1 is for anything suboptimal. Option 5 is for anyone with a dust mask, ski mask or whatever.

Results: For a change this one's not about opinion. Only a quarter of you already own a mask, suggesting a challenge for the government should they ever choose to make them compulsory. Of the remainder, half would buy one, 30% would attempt to make one and 20% would cobble something together.

Final question, what's your underlying belief about mask wearing?

1
Pointless to wear one
7%
2
Solely a personal choice
25%
3
Only in confined places
49%
4
People should wear one
15%
5
Everyone must wear one
3%

This scale runs from 'I will not be told what to do' to 'everyone should be told what to do', via some less rigid opinions in the centre.

Results: The extremes are not popular here, although a hardcore 7% of you are mask dismissives. Instead public opinion leans towards the wearing of masks in confined places (such as shops or public transport) but not at all times. Only 20% believe mask wearing should be the new normal for those outdoors, while slightly more of us reckon we should be left to make up our own minds.

You should now have six digits with which to create your six-digit number.
Please enter it in this special comments box → enter your results here

Numbers only in that box, thanks.
Any general comments about mask-wearing should go in the normal comments box below.
3pm update: The comments box remains open, but I've now stopped counting.


Thanks for your phenomenal number of responses! We've discovered that you don't own a mask and won't be wearing one until you're told to. That you think masks are for protecting yourself and others, and that compulsory use should be restricted to confined spaces. And that the nation is split between those who believe the case for wearing masks is unproven and those who think surely wearing one can't hurt. If government policy ever moves on, expect to hear a lot more about this.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream