Ouch Too

Forum => Talk => Topic started by: ditchdwellers on 21 Oct 2021 09:32AM

Title: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: ditchdwellers on 21 Oct 2021 09:32AM
I returned on Monday from a week long holiday on the Isle of Wight. We took the car ferry and travelling with me were my husband, my mother (that deserves a post all of it's own- what a saga!) and the dog.
The ferry company asked that everyone onboard should wear a mask/face covering if they were able to. I was horrified to find that we were in the extreme minority who did so. I don't go into public spaces very frequently these days and when I do I still wear a mask. Does this make me weird? My husband said he's often the only one wearing a mask going into a supermarket. Has anyone else had a similar experience?
I read in the news this morning that doctors are calling on government to reinstate compulsory mask wearing as Covid numbers are rising again. It seems like government are reluctant and dragging their heels yet again in introducing a simple measure that could potentially save lives, prevent severe illness, and stop the overloaded NHS finally grinding to a halt. The lack of long term planning and constant crisis management angers me. Have they learned nothing from the last 18 months?
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: oldtone27 on 21 Oct 2021 10:37AM
I haven't used public transport for a while, but mask wearing in my local supermarket has reduced considerably in the last couple of weeks. I reckon its about 50% now down from about 90%+. Its still about 90% by staff though.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 21 Oct 2021 02:00PM
I don't go many places and don't use public transport but I have noticed more maskless faces in my limited experience. Everyone wears one in the pharmacy, most people don't in the big supermarket but most do in the local co-op and I had lunch out last week with a friend in TGI Fridays and none of the staff wore one. I have to say though that I did like seeing the face of the server and not just eyes.

Yes doctors and health chiefs are calling for a return of compulsory mask wearing and of social distancing whatever that means but hospitals are nowhere near overwhelmed. Most people getting Covid are getting it mildly and recovering quickly at home. Studies have shown that cases of long Covid following Covid is now rare whereas prior to the vaccines it was a common side effect some are still suffering with after getting Covid in the first few months so I can't see the government taking that action yet. I am nervous of getting Covid now mainly because I am past 6 months from my second vaccine so I know my protection is dropping and I was in the group 4 vulnerable group. I think people are tired of the restrictions and realise that Covid is here and active and will be for the next few years so either don't see the point of masks or feel that it will make no difference to the presence of Covid being here for years. Pandemic fatigue maybe.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 21 Oct 2021 05:35PM
The situation as regards hospitals is partly a regional thing. 

However, it's not just the current rise in cases and the current rise in patients requiring mechanical ventilation that's an issue.  Take the increasing need for ventilators - it could be said that we can still make use of extra ventilators purchased last year.

However, there's still the backlog of other cases to be cleared, which has to be seen 
in the context of staff burnout that's leading to staff going off sick, changing careers, and taking early retirement.  So we don't just need cases to rise less steeply than last year, we need them to fall dramatically.

There's also the point that for patient safety, cases not requiring hospitalisation but where a patient needs to see a doctor (which may be for something else) require home visits.  This again reduces resources for other cases.

Further, whilst the current rise in cases including but not only those cases requiring artificial ventilation may not be at the level they were last year, it's not stopping the rise we need, it's reducing covid-19 cases in order to be able to clear the massive backlog of people waiting for treatment for other conditions.

But whilst the governments of various other first world countries look on in horror at what's happening here, with an attitude along the lines of "We don't mind that the cases are rising because it's not as much as last year."

I feel that way when there's a campaign in an area for, say, steps to be taken to reduce road traffic accidents and people say there's no need because there's no great increase in them, and some of us are there shaking our heads saying "That's no consolation to the family just down the road whose family member's just been run over."

We will probably always be stuck with this virus now, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't tackle the current rise in cases or try to reduce cases further.

That being said, I agree that there is pandemic fatigue.  I believe that that could be tackled with a national campaign along the lines of "Let's save Christmas!"  Slogans like "Mask up now, mask down for Santa!" etc.   

But you know me, doom and gloom, so I reckon the government will hang back from doing anything, let the cases continue to rise, rub their hands in glee as more pension & benefits claimants die, thus reducing the budget...

Still, who knows, maybe people will listen a bit more to the doctors, and maybe on a local level we can make a bit of a difference.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 21 Oct 2021 05:54PM
I do think Covid will only die down when we've gained immunity and that comes through exposure. I think wearing masks would reduce positive test results but not by much if that was the only measure taken so would not have much of an impact on services. There's increasing pressure on the government to do so though so it will be interesting to see if the government bend on this one.

Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: KizzyKazaer on 21 Oct 2021 06:23PM
I've noticed in my travels that mask-wearing in shops seems to be steadily decreasing with each passing week.  Some folk are going to get a shock if it's made compulsory again!

Have continued with it myself since the last lifting of restrictions, but with colder weather coming I am not so keen as when I don the mask and enter a store, my specs steam up something wicked  :f_erm:   Still, one has to put up with these things, I suppose, but I do wonder sometimes if we'll ever get on top of Covid-19...
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 21 Oct 2021 07:17PM
They're looking at creating an annual vaccination for people with certain conditions and older people that will be given alongside the flu vaccine. Flu kills a lot of older people every year but we accept it as part of life and I can see Covid being viewed the same way. That it will be an ongoing risk to certain groups of people. Hopefully they'll develop suitable annual vaccines soon.

I really struggle wearing a mask now that my pain is worse. I must breathe deeper and I find the mask impairs it even though I buy the medical grade disposable masks that they use in hospitals that are meant to be the best for ease of breathing.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 21 Oct 2021 08:10PM
I'm lucky that I don't have a problem breathing with my masks, even though in some weather conditions and seasons my atopy is a bit of a pain when not damped down with serious immunosuppressants.

I find the 2-layer cotton-mix ones, put through the machine on my usual 40degree wash with non-bio detergent are ok, especially after a couple of washes.  I find handwashing them can be ok, but it depends on what I wash them with, because I did use some handwash that didn't go down well with my seborrhoeic dermatitis, but otherwise they're fine.  Obviously, the key thing is to ensure plenty of detergent contact to mess up the virus' lipids, then thorough rinsing.

I like the mainly cotton ones because I think they do a good job of trapping moisture in the fabric whilst still allowing for breathing.  That being said, I know someone who can't cope with a mask but feels readonably comfortable with a face visor.  I don't like visors so much.

A friend sent me a couple of nice home-made mainly cotton ones that are pleated so they form a nice seal round the face whilst being a bit more open.  I liked those in the hottest summer weather, whereas I like a closer-fit in the cold weather, saving me wearing a scarf against the cold.  But again, it's the washability that works for me.  I think they trap moisture particles whilst letting gases through much better than some masks.  I'm not knocking other sorts.

As for accepting covid-19 like flu, I'd offer a couple of comparisons.  Firstly, flu doesn't usually carry much of a postviral fatigue problem, and whilst long covid may seem to be less of an issue than it was, I've yet to see any evidence that those people that would otherwise get chronic fatigue from certain other viruses such as EB wouldn't still be at risk, in a society that treats people with chronic fatigue as malingerers.

Secondly, we're stuck with various other diseases but we've still done everything we can to minimise them.  For instance, it's been worth fighting back hard against polio, just as it has with bacterial infections such as bubonic plague.  We haven't defeated them but it has been well worth doing our best to get them down to levels at which they don't wipe us out.

So I agree we're going to have to live with this virus and I also hope they'll get the annual vaccine thing up and running soon.  I'm also keeping an eye on the developments in antiviral medicines.  What I'd really like is if it would help not just with this virus, but also if they could develop more general antivirals.

In the meantime, I'm very glad I cope ok with things like masks and social distancing, and I've managed to reconcile the handwashing etc. with my obsessive compulsive problems.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: On the edge on 22 Oct 2021 10:16AM
The one I wear is cosmetic really. Cheap shop-bought masks (3 for a fiver here), offer nil protection but I can't afford to keep buying medical-grade masks.  I usually buy the ones you can wash and re-use.  They seem to be more a fashion statement than a protective thing now.  DIY clear masks for the deaf, aided lip-reading but clouded up all the time, again none offered protection to the user.  People were making them in the front room and selling them. 

During the first wave I investigated where the clear medical grade masks were, and only ONE area in Europe made them and our NHS had none of them.  They didn't for 10 months after either.  Rows still ensure if they had any value given most deaf could not lip-read effectively enough to solely rely on it. 1 in 126 deaf people can actually lip-read alone everything said, and even lip-reading teachers state, 60% is the very best you can hope for.

The thing with clear masks is the deaf plugged it for themselves, which was pointless as we/they need OTHERS to wear them!  Visors I saw no point in wearing at all, as they are wide open underneath.  Do they think the virus travels through the air in a straight line, and bounces off the perspex?  The government should have introduced rules for their sale to make them effective.  They only partially work WITH social distancing.

After 18 months of wearing a mask, my partner and I are starting to react to them and find them very uncomfortable to wear now.  It is affecting our breathing to an extent.  We only wear them on public transport or a shop now.  The problem is our area buses are choc a bloc again and social distancing has stopped.  We had to refuse to get on one bus were we would have had to sit with other people not wearing masks, there was quite a row about it as I told the driver he and the passengers were defying the rules.

The driver said 'if I stopped them without masks I get threatened, not worth it.'  One bloke just swore at us, we waited for the next one.  It was clear a few were wearing the sunflower tabard who were not disabled either, I gather they can be freely bought online for a few quid so nobody questions if you're disabled or if it is invisible or you have an exclusion reason from mask-wearing.

Wearing these has proven a boon for non-disabled who don't like wearing masks. A bit like those people who use fake parking permits etc..
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 22 Oct 2021 01:08PM
There is research evidence that shows that even quite cheap and basic masks can offer a useful degree of protection.  They don't have to catch every droplet of moisture in your breath to protect those around you from viral particles in the moisture, just catch some and slow down the rest so they don't go so far before dispersing or falling to the ground.

As for face visors and the virus, no they won't trap it all, but insofar as the moisture droplets are redirected downwards, there is then a good  chance that they will land on your clothing or, if they go anywhere, be spread in a loose mist and fall, not be projected strongly towards someone else's face.  But as you say, yes, social distancing also matters. 

I think that in addition to those that feel uncomfortable wearing masks, one of the main reasons why people in this country aren't wearing them is that our government hasn't stressed enough how you can pass on the virus whilst symptomless, so lots of people think "I don't need to wear a mask because I haven't go the virus so I can't pass it on.  People are safe round me if I don't wear a mask."

Mind you, there are still some politicians out there that speak as if the main person we're protecting when we wear an ordinary mask is ourselves as opposed to mainly others and to a lesser extent ourselves.  I suppose they think that'll sell the idea of wearing them better.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 22 Oct 2021 03:04PM
Do they think the virus travels through the air in a straight line, and bounces off the perspex?

I think you raise a very valid point.  I don't think most of us do give much thought to how any of these things work; but if they do, the amount of contradictory information we've been given is a problem.

On the other hand, I don't think exhaled breath on a visor worn as an alternative to a face mask for pandemic reasons is much different from exhaled breath on visors worn for other reasons, e.g. helmet visors.  If you think of it, typically the bit that steams up first on a cold day is typically the bit in front of your mouth and nose, not the bits round the edge. 

My understanding is that when you exhale, it's the droplets going in a straight line that travel fastest, and that more droplets go in a straight line than round the edge. So even though an everyday visor won't stop all the droplets, just like an everyday mask won't, it'll considerably reduce the proportion of them travelling in a straight line towards others who are inhaling and towards things we are looking at, which may well be the things people are more likely to touch.

Then again, for protecting ourselves (and I appreciate that that's a secondary purpose with everyday masks and visors as opposed to N95 ones) I suppose again I'm influenced by my experience wearing masks in a work context and for DIY.  A cheap mask or visor from a builder's merchants won't stop everything coming my way, but there's plenty of DIY I wouldn't do without one.  Likewise, when my immune system is grumpy, wearing a simple mask in bed won't stop all the pollen and tree mould spores getting in, but it'll keep enough out to mean I'm not waking every few minutes to cough and spit or snort and spit.

I wish, though, that we had the slogan "My mask protects you, your mask protects me" splashed all over billboards and the sides of buses.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 22 Oct 2021 04:15PM
As for the bus thing, OtE, I find buses very stressful to say the least.

That being said, on my local buses, the unwritten rule most people seem to obey is that unmasked people go upstairs or at the back, unless they need to be in the buggy bays. 

I don't know what the situation is in Wales, but here we've got the rules that cover most of England (but not, I believe, London?) whereby there are no laws or bylaws requiring masks on buses, but bus companies are free to set their own terms and conditions.

Various bus companies operate near me, but all require masks.  But as with your local buses, drivers aren't making a fuss with unmasked passengers.

I can't see what they're supposed to do, though.  As you point out, if people find they're getting challenged, they can always go and buy a sunflower lanyard.  It might have been to the point to get a system in place for applying for and getting some sort of exempt status, but the government wasn't going to be able to do that, even if it wanted to, having already effectively destroyed our health assessment system for other purposes such as benefits.

Also, whilst I find it frustrating when people don't wear masks, in all seriousness, when you read what's written online, I do believe that a lot of people out there now believe that wearing a mask is dangerous because it makes you re-breathe in your own exhaled breath and...well, the explanations then vary.  So if you've read or heard over and over and over again that masks are dangerous and harm you, why mightn't you become genuinely afraid of wearing one?

How would a formal exemption scheme handle that?

So whilst I want to scream my head off not just with fury but with, genuinely, fear when I get on a bus with lots of unmasked people, I think communication's been handled in a way that means that if now we had a formal assessment for exemption scheme, lots of people would be genuinely exempt now who wouldn't otherwise be, because they are genuinely scared.

That doesn't fix your bus problem, just maybe next time you get on a bus, maybe it might help a little to know you're not the only one feeling frustrated.

Oh, and the lanyard thing - different aspect - abuse of it is particularly problematic for those of us with hidden disabilities, isn't it?
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 23 Oct 2021 07:45PM
A thought about sorts of masks...

Suppose that instead of spending lots of money on buying stuff from friends and friends of friends that couldn't supply what they said they could, the government had set up a department/team tasked with setting up a factory or maybe a group of small factories, to produce N95 masks for the whole country.

I  bet if it had been done properly and professionally at a fair price, not dodgy deals, we'd have been really well kitted out by now.

They could also have got special masks made for those that need them, e.g. some more like respirators, and ample supplies of stuff like treatment liquids/washes for conditions that can be aggravated by masks, such as seborrhoeic dermatitis.

But that would all have required honesty and competence.

The contrast in my head is what I think would have happened under Thatcher.  Whilst I loathed Thatcher, at least if she put work the way of her mates, she'd have insisted on getting decent kit for it.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Monic1511 on 24 Oct 2021 08:18AM
Mask wearing in indoor public spaces has been compulsory in Scotland all along, still compulsory on public transport, doesn’t stop the selfish or inconsiderate ones who could wear a mask from wearing a chin strap instead  :f_doh:
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 24 Oct 2021 08:49AM
That's interesting Monic that you're only now struggling with breathing with a mask on after 18 months of wearing them. I used to always wear one with no problem but even the medical grade disposable ones I buy I now struggle with. I'd assumed it was because I am in more pain so may be breathing differently but maybe it's like you, an affect of time use.

With regard to the sunflower lanyards though, they signal that the wearer has an invisible disability, that's their purpose so if people are using them for the right purpose you wouldn't see their disability. But yes almost certainly a lot of people would have got hold of one to avoid wearing a mask when they would actually be okay wearing a mask but we can't tell by looking who can and who can't.

At my grandaughter's birthday party yesterday it was cosy with 45 people in a small area and not one mask in sight!
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 24 Oct 2021 01:09PM
I wonder about the quality of some of the masks on sale.  This is just suspicion and musing on my part - I haven't researched it.

I'm mentally comparing what I think of as the 'cheap blue ones' (although obviously they're rather less cheap than they used to be to put it mildly).  I used to be quite comfortable wearing those in bed seasonally to keep allergens out.  But are the ones now made of the same fibres, in the same way, to the same standards?  I'm serious.

And if my suspicions are right, what other masks would that apply to?

I also notice with the cotton-based masks I wear that how I wash them makes a big difference.  It even differs between the different brands of mask what's best.

On a lighter note, in the summer and early autumn, I was having problems with masks I put on that took a few wearings to identify.  I was hanging them up to dry somewhere where they could be 'contaminated' by allergens.  I suspect most people wouldn't be so daft.  Watch out which trees you hang your laundry near outside, and which windows & doors you hang it near inside, Sunny!

One difficulty with all this is the wide range of masks now available, which must make research difficult, which in turn must have a knock-on effect on people who have other reasons for problems. At least my main reasons are just allergens and asthma.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 24 Oct 2021 05:27PM
I'm thankful that I barely ever go anywhere so can afford the same medical grade surgical masks doctors have always worn and apparently they are the best safety wise and apparently don't impair breathing so are meant to be ideal for people with asthma but even with them I now struggle breathing in them at times. For people who go out and about regularly I can understand that buying these disposable masks is just unaffordable.

I think if the government sold them to the public at non profit making cost price that would encourage far more mask wearing or is that too simple a solution.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: KizzyKazaer on 24 Oct 2021 06:23PM
Oh, and the lanyard thing - different aspect - abuse of it is particularly problematic for those of us with hidden disabilities, isn't it?
I'm not sure those lanyards are useful at all since I heard they could be ordered over the Internet by just about anybody - so how can anyone know if the wearer really has an invisible disability or not??
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 24 Oct 2021 09:12PM
I got mine free years ago from tfl as I needed to request a seat on trains, especially the tube and found it really useful. I'm aware that many people uncomfortable about wearing masks will have got hold of the lanyards so they don't have to wear one but it doesn't bother me. I have no clue who genuinely does or doesn't struggle with masks so don't spend any time worrying about it.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 24 Oct 2021 09:51PM
I find the mask thing difficult in terms of worry etc.  I fully accept that there are some people that can't wear masks.  I accept that that includes people that have psychological reasons for not wearing them and people that have been unable to get suitable masks for their needs, in addition to those who can't physically wear one at all.

At the same time, based on my previous experiences of postviral fatigue, and very aware of people's attitudes towards fatigue conditions, I'm utterly terrified of catching the virus.  Further, when people don't wear masks, whilst I don't direct my feelings to particular strangers, nevertheless if I'm somewhere where it's realistic to suppose that a large proportion of those without masks are not genuinely entitled to be not wearing them, e.g. on a bus where over half the passengers, maybe even most of the passengers, aren't wearing a mask, I feel threatened by them, without knowing which ones genuinely can't wear a mask, which don't believe masks make any difference, and which ones have an attitude that "I don't care if I pass on this virus and you die."   

I have had people, particularly men, come up so close to me in places like checkouts that I could see their breath on my glasses and I've responded by saying clearly and firmly "If I can't trust you not to get close enough to me not to pass on a deadly virus, I certainly don't trust you not to get close enough to me to grope me or knock me over."

And that's how I feel.  The people getting close enough to me in the street or shops to bump into me and cause me to stumble don't wear masks.

Where I am, the majority of people I encounter, particularly in the residential side roads, are very considerate, as we play the socially-distancing dance in and out of driveways.  But this is a densely populated urban area and I don't necessarily go just in my own neighbourhood.

By analogy, it's like the very small proportion of people that dash to help me if I fall over who are what I'll call 'rescuer muggers' and 'rescuer gropers'.  Few and far between, but they exist.  That makes falling over more scary than it should be.  Ditto sitting near maskless people on the bus.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: On the edge on 25 Oct 2021 09:19AM
The thing about masks is over the counter and homemade ones are of little protection, they offer some. One GP told me, if you can smell someone's cigarette smoke or perfume while wearing a mask, then, you are by default inhaling aspects of their breath emission too.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 25 Oct 2021 01:15PM
The thing about masks is over the counter and homemade ones are of little protection, they offer some. One GP told me, if you can smell someone's cigarette smoke or perfume while wearing a mask, then, you are by default inhaling aspects of their breath emission too.

Yes, however, firstly, depending  on what aspect of it you're smelling, the cigarette smoke and perfume may be primarily carried on gases, whereas the virus is carried in moisture droplets; and secondly, as you point out, they offer some protection.

I base that observation as to how the smell of cigarettes is carried on personal experience not on research. As someone who has a nasty asthma-type reaction to certain cigarettes but not to tobacco, i.e. I'm safe round roll-ups, to the extent that there have been occasions when I hadn't seen the smoker and the smell was disguised by other smells, I've lost consciousness before I could move away and get my inhaler out, I've been amazed that with a cotton mix mask I can stand near smokers.

On the other hand, some aromatic oils and smells seem to get round the edges of my masks.  I say round the edges, because it definitely depends on the fit of the mask.  I think the relevance of that is the question of how far what gets to us smell-wise could be from general fug round the edge, in which case again the question is how far leakage of droplets round the edge of the mask would or wouldn't be less dangerous to others than strongly projected droplets from the front of an unmasked face.

I daresay in years to come there'll be more research.  I wouldn't count on a government like ours helping people to get the right kit based on that research, though.

It's all horribly difficult, isn't it?  And some people understandably take the view that the protection provided by masks seems small so what's the point, whereas I see it like traffic lights.  In the UK, it's considered normal for a last car to squeeze through as the lights are changing, and if there are cars waiting to turn right, the lights changing can cause them to respond with a quick dash.  But it seems to me that with those limitations, traffic lights are still worth having.  I bet some people coming from countries where they strictly obey traffic lights are baffled why we bother with them at all, though.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 25 Oct 2021 01:18PM
A lighter note - I suddenly thought how wonderful it would be if smartphones had sort of extending screens, so that people could extend the screen and then type messages into them to display at a font big enough for most people to read, with only few words on the screen, perhaps scrolling, 1.5m away!
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 25 Oct 2021 02:41PM
Sky news item 6 July 2021


Leaving aside their journalistic take on it, they cite a range of sources including research into specific cases/events.

My summary of what they said (very paraphrased) is that masks don't stop transmission but reduce it to an extent that makes it worth wearing them.  But I have posted a link for anyone that wants to check the research.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: oldtone27 on 25 Oct 2021 02:49PM
That was my understanding of the situation.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 26 Oct 2021 02:30PM
I just went to a dance group.  It's a couple of buses away.  When I got there, I'd just taken my mask off but was told by the receptionist that they have to be worn inside the building.  I've not claimed an exemption anywhere and didn't ask for one, but they were adamant that everyone has to wear one which seemed unreasonable given that some people genuinely can't.

I don't feel able to dance with a mask on, so I turned round and went home.

It's not my dance group and it's not my building (it's owned by the local council there), so it's up to them what clauses they put in their customer contracts, but it's a small group in a very large room, with all the dances adapted for distancing, so I don't think masks are necessary.

If I'm honest with myself, my frustration isn't about whether it's reasonable, it's just that I've run out of groups/activities I can participate in, most requiring a level of hearing acuity I don't have and others having other obstacles.  I probably shouldn't be dancing anyway given a physical problem I've got.  I'm still going to grumble, though.  It's my pathetic justification to myself for buying those calorific biscuits I've just munched.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: oldtone27 on 26 Oct 2021 02:45PM

I have just been to our VI group coffee morning. It is held at the local theatre/arts centre and although they request hand sanitising they don't insist on masks. The venue is air conditioned and quite high ceilinged so is quite airy.

Most of the staff do wear masks , but none of our group was, and we haven't for the last few weeks since restrictions were eased.

I also go to a short mat bowling group in a bowls club which does not have air conditioning but they do ventilate the room well.Again the members tend not to wear masks.

In both places folk are careful to stay away if they feel a bit unwell. I don't no of any Covid transmission amongst them. Just a  few sore arms from flu jabs.

We are in a fairly high incidence area. One wonders just how variable are the conditions for transmission.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 26 Oct 2021 03:29PM
It's a difficult judgement call with groups, isn't it?

The room the dancing's in is a re-purposed old building.  If you compared it for floor space and height, think of a parish church with all the pews taken out.  Now put about a dozen people in it.  You can do dances far enough apart to reach out your arms and not touch.

But when we started back, first the manager said we weren't allowed to keep the doors at one end of the hall we use open to outside as we used to before the pandemic, then last time she got anxious and started checking our temperatures. 

I wonder whether they're worried because it's an oldies' group.  But ironically, that means that unless people aren't telling the truth, there's only one member of the group that hasn't been double-jabbed (plus flu-jabbed).

Looking on their website, I struggle to see how some of the activities could function at all with masks on.  I stress that the message I was given was that I couldn't go in the building at all without a mask on.

I have a sense of the absurdity of it all.  A government that says masks are all about 'personal responsibility' meaning that lots of people aren't wearing them where it would, in my opinion, be verging on essential, yet others are going too far the other way.

I suspect there's no way I'll be happy with this.  I like consistency. I'm fine with changes as we learn what's best, but this muddle fries my brain.  No wonder some people are just giving up.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: KizzyKazaer on 26 Oct 2021 06:03PM
I like consistency. I'm fine with changes as we learn what's best, but this muddle fries my brain.  No wonder some people are just giving up.

Completely agree - I think mandatory mask-wearing should be reintroduced and have done with it; take all the indecision out.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 26 Oct 2021 06:20PM
The problem with mandatory mask wearing is that in the absence of system or resources to assess who's genuinely unable to wear one, that means either doing what we were doing before and simply accepting self-declaration of exempt status, or stopping people unable to wear masks from leaving home in a society where there's already insufficient support for disabled people and where people I know by phone (but not local) said the promised support for people like them that were supposed to be shielding wasn't there. 

You know how politically negative I get, so I have to work to tell myself not to assume that that's deliberate.  A 'survival of the fittest' mentality.

That's why even though I get upset over the odd bit of antisocial behaviour where I am, I value where I live.  Can't go shopping or pick up your meds?  Ask a neighbour. 

Mind you, neighbours of mine were clearly worried what they might catch from my household because they gave my teddy bear a facemask last Christmas.  Teddy likes his facemask.  Perhaps I should send him along to the dance group in my place.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 27 Oct 2021 11:09PM
I'm surprised I'm still upset about the dance thing.  I think it's symbolic.  It's not really the mask aspect of it, it's just the mask was the particular issue on that particular day.

I wonder how many people objecting to masks are objecting to them as a proxy or because it's the final straw on something etc?

Mind you, since I'm trying to cheer myself up, I'll share something I find wryly funny.  Before the pandemic, rebels in society, fighting back against being controlled by whoever, were trying to hide from facial recognition cameras by wearing muffs, scarves, facepaint and masks, particularly Anonymous masks.   Every time I see people marching against masks, I wonder how many of them were marching with masks on a couple of years ago.

Yup, in the midst of wading through this morass of information, personal decisions etc., and in the midst of reading all the interesting info and views here, e.g. on the shorfalls in mask effectiveness, I find comfort in absurdities.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 28 Oct 2021 12:31PM
I think because numbers are so high organisations are getting stricter and many are reinstating restrictions despite them not legally having to. On balance, I think it's better to be more cautious than necessary than not cautious enough. Several people I know have returned to full strict shielding at home.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 28 Oct 2021 01:18PM
I think it makes sense to take care.  I just also know that if you have an aerobic dance class for oldies, if you say all have got to wear a mask, you've basically closed the class.  As I type that, and think of the illogicality of telling us we can no longer have the doors open during the class to let the fresh air circulate, I think what they're really trying to do is to close the class.

Further, my gut feeling is that it's coming from what I'll call junior management.  Maybe they're not happy with the council keeping the building open.  That could be awkwardness or it could be that senior management isn't having sufficient regard to worker safety in ways that I wouldn't see.  The person who was testing our temperatures didn't have a mask on.

They were a pain over a number of things before the pandemic.  E.g. wanting us to wait outside in the rain until the moment our session started, despite the building then also functioning as a community drop-in centre.  I suspected that that was a staff/management face-off over lunch break cover or something.

So if I'm right, and it's only suspicion and reasoning, the main factor here is masks being a proxy for 'office politics'.  Or maybe I just suspect that because that's what happens with so many things in this world. 

How's the world supposed to cope with the likes of me?  I'm thinking of those deafie conflicts in my head "Grrh I can't lipread through that mask, aargh don't take it off, I don't want the trendy virus!"  I find myself making an effort to look grateful whether, in their effort to be kind, they judge it best to keep their mask on or take it off, doing my best to hide it if I'm feeling panic.

I have never in my life had so many panic attacks as I'm having these days.  I'm trying to build up a collection of non-judgmental phrases that convey an underlying message of "Don't worry, I'm just anxious about something else so don't feel it's directed at you."
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 28 Oct 2021 06:27PM
I would suspect that rather than office politics, the strict rules are triggered by fear from someone. Maybe someone in the heirarchy has lost someone to Covid and the rising numbers is creating fear and that fearful person is key in creating rules. 
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 28 Oct 2021 07:14PM
Yes, fear would make sense.  And if it's fear causing it, I don't lack sympathy for those that may be afraid.

I just wish they'd be logical about it.  I've now checked it out and found it's just to cross from the front door to the main room.  How much more do I exhale in reception whilst getting a mask out of my bag and putting it on to walk fewer than a dozen paces?

But fear on someone's part would explain it, and now as I type this looking at my own behaviour, if you'd seen some of the daftness that arises from my obsessive compulsive traits, I can't argue my steps to alleviate fear are as logical as they should be, so I need to show some tolerance to others with procedures born of fear that I consider to be illogical.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: ditchdwellers on 29 Oct 2021 09:18AM
Not all fear has to be logical Sunny.  :f_hug:
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 29 Oct 2021 01:07PM
I expressed myself badly.

"I need to show some tolerance to others with procedures born of fear that I consider to be illogical."

Should have been differently sequenced to avoid ambiguity, maybe something like.

"I need to show some tolerance to others with procedures that I consider to be illogical but which are born of fear."


"I need to show some tolerance to others with procedures born of fear, where I consider those procedures to be illogical."

Given that fear is on one level an emotional reaction to perceived threat, logic doesn't come into it.  On the other hand, continuing to be afraid can vary massively in its logic.  I have, more than once, been attacked by strange dogs, to the utter shock of their owners.  I am aware that people working in the sad business of having dogs that attack people put down say that owners almost always react, seemingly genuinely, with "But my dog's never done that before."  On the other hand, statistically, severe attacks by dogs are fairly rare.

So if I see a dog coming, seemingly under control and obedient, I'm ok.  But if one suddenly appears in my field of vision, there's a good chance I'll have a panic attack, and if I see a dog off the lead and not walking to heel, many's the time I've stumbled as I've dashed into a driveway or out into the road.

I've worked hard at damping down my fear.  I've even dog-sat for neighbours.  But there's a level at which it never actually goes away.

I think you can argue that the actual fear is still logical because pathways are established in the brain, but that some of my behaviour is not, because I know that statistically dogs I meet are unlikely, even if not under control, to attack me.

After typing all that and tweaking it, I realise that my hair-splitting over what I think and mean is a bit pointless since whether it's the fear or what's done because of it I'm saying I should be tolerant of the illogicality of, it's the tolerance that matters, isn't it?
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 27 Nov 2021 07:42PM
It's been announced by BJ (only just cottoned on to the irony of his initials) that mask wearing in public indoor places will become mandatory again due to the latest variant found from foreign and national residents.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 27 Nov 2021 09:04PM
I don't think the government saying it will be enough by itself.  It'll take widespread social pressure.  We'll see how that works out.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: ally on 27 Nov 2021 11:03PM
We haven’t been out in public areas without a mask.  We’re not mixing with many people, and avoiding the public the best we can when out.  Yet, we’ve gone down with the virus from hell.  We’ve had for two weeks now, and, it’s still ongoing.  The worse throat infection we’ve ever had.  Upper respiratory infection, nose bleeds, coughing,  the lot.  We’ve done lateral flow tests at home which were all negative.  To make sure it wasn’t covid, my husband went online on a government site to have PCR tests.  However, we’re not eligible, as we’re out of time to have one.   Same with covid stations.  Therefore, there must be many in our situation.  We could have covid, but, can’t find out. Hopefully, it’s just a virus that’s hitting many people now, and, it’s not covid.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 27 Nov 2021 11:08PM

Whatever it is, big hugs.

I hope you've got all you need in terms of things like food supplies.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 28 Nov 2021 07:42AM
 :f_hug:  sorry to hear that ally.

I met with a friend for lunch on Friday and the weekend before she'd been incapacitated and off her feet with a virus. She physically was able to get a PCR done Monday and the results came back negative so she (ex GP) immediately thinks she had flu. She looked pretty tough when I saw her on Friday and I wished that I had had the assertiveness to postpone as I really hadn't been happy to meet up with her. The BMJ cite a false negative PCR rate of 30% so even a negative doesn't mean you're definitely negative. I think the key thing ally, is unlike my friend, you're right to assume you do have it and take measures not to pass it on and protect others so you're doing what we all need to do. I'm taking 1000mg vitamin C, zinc, echinacea and a multivitamin daily in the hope of bolstering my protection in case my friend was actually positive.

I'm due to go to the ballet on Friday, tickets bought 2 years ago 1 year ahead of the show which was then postponed due to Covid. You can't ask for a refund because you don't want to sit in a theatre with thousands of people. I'm just going to go, masks will be mandatory at least and I will take hand gel.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: ditchdwellers on 28 Nov 2021 10:56AM

Ally I completely sympathise with you.There seem to be various really nasty cold viruses going around at the moment.

I haven't been out in public areas without a mask either ally, and I too have some sort of stinking cold virus.
 Last night I had a trip out to the local Urgent Treatment Centre for an ear infection and I was ushered into a quiet isolation area with a bed straight away, despite telling the triage nurse I had done a Covid test with a negative result. At least I was seen quickly and handed my antibiotics so I didn't have to hang around A&E.

I caught my cold from my husband. He wears a mask at work and in public. He gets really annoyed by people not social distancing or mask wearing. What winds him up the most is people who wear their mask as a neck warmer or otherwise incorrectly. Particularly shop staff.

I hope you begin to feel better soon and some of the symptoms start to subside  :f_hug:
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: ally on 28 Nov 2021 01:47PM
Thanks to everyone who replied.  I hope you don’t think I posted for sympathy.   I won’t deny it helps. However, I was trying to make this forum aware that you can pick up a virus although you’re wearing a mask in public places.  As mentioned, we’re always covid aware when out.  It’s really knocked my confidence.  The only place I can think of where we were sitting inside an enclosed area, was the dentist waiting room.  We weren’t there that long, as it was cancelled when she rang in sick.  I have an apt there in two days time,  for a cracked tooth.  If I go in like this, I could give it to her.  If I don’t go, it may be April when I’m seen to next.  My husband had to fight for the apt, as the waiting list to be seen is horrendous. 
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 28 Nov 2021 02:35PM
Viruses can live on surfaces we touch for a various numbers of hours depending on the pourousness of the surface and the type of virus. That means we can get a virus from being in an environment but also from handling shopping or post that has arrived in an online delivery or through the letterbox. I think in lockdown one people were wearing gloves to take in shopping, wiping the shopping and bags and gelling hands afterwards and then doing the same when unwrapping food from containers for 5 days after it arrived and not touching the mail for 5 days but of the people that I know who were as stringent as that, they've all stopped the hygiene and isolation of shopping deliveries and mail. Probably due to pandemic fatigue. It's not really possible to know where we pick viruses up from but I doubt we can pinpoint it unless we've only left the house the once and no object or person has entered our home. Hopefully Boris's announcement to make mask wearing mandatory again will make people more aware and careful again. Too many people think the danger has passed.

That said, almost all people in ICU due to Covid now are the unvaccinated but I think the vaccines don't protect people from getting Covid at flu like severity and feeling very unwell. I suspect the public think that is okay though and aren't prepared to restrict their lives to reduce people experiencing that.

The NHS workers I know think Covid is as much a part of our lives now as flu is and that inevitably we're looking at annual vaccinations for the foreseeable and the majority will cope with the virus and recover.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 29 Nov 2021 05:57AM
Masks are mandatory in communal areas in secondary schools from today. Apparently some schools reversed the government's decision to no longer ask pupils and staff to wear them a couple of months ago due to their own concerns about the rising numbers but of course they wouldn't have had the law to back them up if people refused to comply but now they all have to. Children are the super spreaders as most get no symptoms and they get much closer to their friends than adults do in their workplaces so I think masks should have remained mandatory in schools and not stopped being so in July. I think numbers would have been lower with secondary age children remaining masked.

I went to church yesterday and we wear masks in and out of the building but during the service we remove them. I was feeling naff due to pain and fatigue and someone noticed me crying during the service and she came over with another lady and they prayed over me during a song. Nice though the gesture was, neither of them were masked and as they wanted the prayer to be heard only by me they leaned in and both their faces were by mine and I could feel their breath on my face with every word they spoke and I felt really uneasy. Looking back on it now, I could have taken my mask out of my pocket and put it back on which might have reminded them of the dangers and they may have allowed me some more space even if they hadn't fetched their own masks over. I wasn't quick enough to think of that. I'm going to be counting the 5 days incubation period out now because this is the first situation that I have been in since the start of the pandemic when I felt at risk contact wise. I'm continuing my daily high dose vitamin C, zinc, echinacea and multivitamin.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 29 Nov 2021 12:30PM
Yes, people getting close is scary even when they do it to be helpful.

I like the putting your mask on to make a point idea.

I'd thought I'd found a way to get strangers to back off when they get too close, but it wouldn't work with people who are genuinely trying to help.  I've probably mentioned it - it came to me suddenly at a supermarket checkout when a man behind me kept getting uncomfortably close virus-wise.

I made a point of gripping my bag tightly and looking at his hands.  Then as I saw his hands move and a slight change of facial expression, I said "Sorry - I've just had my pocket picked or my purse grabbed once too often, so I'm a bit wary."  He backed off.  He didn't mind being seen to get too close during a pandemic but didn't want to be thought of as a thief, probably because of the time and hassle he thought there'd be if I'd made an accusation and security had got involved.

I wonder what would work with kind people as well as putting a mask on.  I shall be pondering.   
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 29 Nov 2021 04:56PM
Popped into Screwfix today for an essential item. Customers and staff not wearing masks. It's not mandatory until tomorrow and they could be exempt but something tells me less people will be complying with the new mask rules.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 29 Nov 2021 05:14PM
There seems to be some evidence that people are more likely to wear masks if it's seen to be the social norm.   For instance, someone interviewed lots of people on the London underground that weren't wearing masks and asked why and quite a few referred to ministers not wearing them.  Several said they'd like to wear one but they'd feel awkward when so many people weren't.

So I suppose in each area there's a social tipping point.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 29 Nov 2021 06:46PM
My area isn't too bad normally. I think in this incidence, it's the store's clientele. Workman generally, and they are probably in work mode and aren't thinking of or worried about masks. I doubt places like that would bother to challenge the customers either. Hopefully I won't need to return there anytime soon and I wore a mask and gelled my hands in my car.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: ditchdwellers on 01 Dec 2021 09:33AM
John Crace is a political sketch writer for The Guardian.
Here is his latest offering:

Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 01 Dec 2021 10:46AM
That was so well written  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: ditchdwellers on 01 Dec 2021 11:09AM
I like his writing a lot. I always try to read them when they are published.
Another Guardian political sketch writer to watch out for is Marina Hyde. I really like her writing style; it makes me giggle :f_laugh:
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: ditchdwellers on 01 Dec 2021 11:12AM
Marina Hyde's take on the latest mask wearing rules:

Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 01 Dec 2021 11:20AM
That was also superbly written. You just can't argue with either writer's points and logic.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 02 Dec 2021 05:11PM
I have two of my children and their families visiting me the weekend before Christmas and I plan to make a tikka curry and rice meal as it means it can be prepared well in advance  and I can maximise the amount of time with the family. I haven't made an authentic from scratch curry in years so needed fresh spices so today drove into the city to the area densely populated by the Asian community (and the red light district) and went into the Asian supermarket to buy the spices. The shop was busy with lots of customers and some staff. Not a single one wearing a mask. Maybe the Asians aren't bothered? They can't all be exempt?

I wore my mask and gelled my hands so did all that I could but I am glad I only shop there every few years!
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 02 Dec 2021 05:41PM
Like you, I live somewhere where to some extent, different sorts of people are clustered together, and I'm thinking of two shopping areas with a lot of South Asians.

I found myself wondering whether the traditions and/or controversies around face veils are relevant at all?  Those from religious groups where the women don't wear veils not wanting to be associated with those that do, and men not wanting to be associated with women's attire?  It wouldn't have to be a high proportion of the relevant population to have an impact, given the research suggesting that a significant factor in whether people do or don't wear a mask is what's the perceived norm where they are.

As I type that, I think there's quite a strong contrast between behaviour in the two areas, both as regards crowding and as regards mask-wearing.  I wonder whether there are any factors such as influential religious leaders and/or community leaders?    I know that in one of the areas, some of the local doctors and leaders have been very active over the years in promoting good health.

I'm now curious as to the factors like religions, religious denominations, predominant regional backgrounds etc.

But then I note that there are also differences between different high streets depending in part on things like social class etc.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 09 Dec 2021 02:11PM
More about social distancing than face coverings. The restrictions have increased and the last time they were this high there was an isolation volunteer group and I used them to collect my medications from the chemist so today was a trial.

I had a face to face appointment with my GP today and my fatigue is extreme currently and I almost changed the appointment to a phone consult but I am completely out of Buprenorphine patches and a day or so away from essential meds so I forced myself there. I was beyond tired (forcing myself not to cry) as I approached the chemist and could see a queue of customers outside the chemist. Customers queuing told me only 2 customers were allowed inside. At first I knew that I couldn't cope with the pain of standing plus was too fatigued so turned away to come home but was desperate for meds so turned back. It's impossible for me to stand and queue so I explained to the ladies in the queue that I have spine issues and cannot stand due to pain and would need to sit inside but that I knew that I was behind them in the queue and would wait my turn. It's a deep narrow store with a central aisle. There are 2 chairs facing the till that back onto the end of the central aisle and 2 chairs at the side also at the front of the store backed onto shelving. There are also 2 chairs at the back of the store by the door. I sat on the chair at the back of the store that was furthest from the doorway. Everyone was in masks. As the store assistant approached me the 2 ladies at the front of the queue outside came inside, I think the first lady could see the customer at the till was being served and would soon turn and exit the store and the second lady was clearly panicking that I was jumping the queue. I explained to the store assistant my spine issues and pain and showed her my sunflower lanyard and explanation tag and she said in an annoyed tone "I have illnesses too you know" then when one of the 2 ladies coming in said it was impossible to see how many people were in the store from outside, the shop assistant pointed to the sign saying only 2 customers inside at any one time and said "I get in trouble when this rule is broken but you (she points at me) and you (she points at the 2 ladies) just do what you like and take no notice". I struggled not to cry.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 09 Dec 2021 02:46PM
What a horrible experience.

Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 11 Dec 2021 12:10PM
Wavering slightly off topic again, I am part of an interview panel next week interviewing a psychologist for a post within the PCN. It occurred to me that we will all be in masks and how ideally I would have liked to see their facial expressions to ascertain their empathy and understanding skills and how I think this is a real hindrance to being able to do that.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 11 Dec 2021 05:06PM
The flip side of that is that there may be panel members that mis-interpret some facial expressions, so whilst it hinders you as an interviewer, it may reduce prejudice or misunderstandings of others.

I'm afraid, though, that I'm heavily biased in that due to having a long-standing interest in misinterpretation of facial expressions, body language and behaviour.

Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: ally on 11 Dec 2021 10:15PM
I rely greatly on facial expressions, it’s part of deaf culture shall I say.  I lip read, use sign language, and, anything else available to help me communicate.   Facial expressions, and body language, tell me a lot about the person I’m communicating with.  I can tell if the person is lying, happy, sad, annoyed, or, even exasperated as I haven’t grasped whatever I’m being told.  The way I react to someone, all depends on the above.  When someone is wearing a mask I lose all that.  I struggle as I can’t communicate at all, if I can’t see someone’s lips.  I know if the person is annoyed, as it shows in their eyes, squinting, scowling etc.  Even though I can’t hear, I can tell if a person is shouting due to their neck muscles looking strained. 

I know masks help to keep people safe.  However, why anyone would imagine that when I tell someone I lip read, they continue talking while still wearing a mask?  Do they think I’m lying?  Are they taking the opportunity to tell me what they’re really thinking, and, insult me ?   I doubt the latter, but, it does make you wonder at times.  The could try it on. and then, if I rise to it.   I am faking it.  When younger I once has an interview for a job.  He was fascinated by me being deaf.   He covered his mouth over with a piece of paper, and, said something to me behind it,  when I didn’t react, he said, very good, and, laughed.  He told me at the end of the interview that he wasn’t going to offer me the job.   He thought I was too attractive, and, I would prevent the men from  getting on with their work.   Therefore, I think he’d said something way out of order behind that piece of paper.  These days, he’d be in trouble for conducting a sexist interview like that. 
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 11 Dec 2021 11:22PM
I think that some people think that if you can talk, you can't be deaf.  Also, I find as a partially deaf person that there's a widespread assumption that if you have hearing aids, you can hear just fine.

Ironically, old people far more often get it, being more likely, if not having got a bit (or a lot) deaf themselves, having met and known, as they grew older, more and more people with a range of deafness.

What drives me bonkers is people that don't realise that it's not just about volume, it's also about clarity.

On the two aspects of my feelings about face-covering, I don't like people covering faces in contexts where I can't hear clearly (which for me, with my aids in, mostly means background noise, or hard surfaces such as a surgery or such as an interview room).  I certainly think it's entirely reasonable for someone who needs to be able to lip read to have suitable adjustments made. 

The flip side relates not so much to people seeing my face as to how people interpret people's expressions.

I have had a lot of problems with this over the years, albeit with a small proportion of people.  The best example is one not hidden by a mask.  I have an hereditary condition that causes me to use my eyes separately, and therefore to switch back and forth between which eye I'm watching a face with, perhaps due to background lighting or the person moving.  I never saw anything odd in this, because my mother also did it, as did another close relative.  It was only a few years back that I realised how visible it was to others and the penny dropped as to why certain people over the years had thought I wasn't paying attention to them or that I was dodgy or dishonest. 

I feel I want to cry when I see guides to facial expressions that say that if people are looking around when you speak to them, they're being evasive or dishonest.  Also, even though I try not to react to it, I feel hurt by the term 'swivel-eyed'.

Another thing not covered by a mask, I also frown sometimes when struggling to hear what people are saying and therefore struggling more to focus my eyes, and find it distressing when some people interpret that as anger or  hostility.  Again, you find that link made in guides to facial expressions with no clarification that people may wrinkle their faces as they focus their eyes.

However, whilst my examples relate to eyes and forehead, the principle applies to the whole face.

So my argument is not that people shouldn't be asked to take face coverings off where needed for communication purposes,  just that I have suffered too much in life from people interpreting facial expressions in a way that is detrimental to me, which has left me twitchy about how much people read into them.

Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 12 Dec 2021 02:06PM
Gosh ally what an awful experience during that interview. Horrendous. And I totally agree that no one should continue talking behind their mask once they know or if they already knew you are deaf. It's rude and totally pointless. And frustrating for you.

I was deaf as a child and could lip read. My memories are all of fear, for being told off or smacked when I hadn't heard the instruction. No one knew that I was deaf as I wasn't born deaf and through the process of going deaf had learnt to lip read which meant it took years for someone to realise. It was really frightening and a scary time. I could lip read for a few years after my operation but lost the ability after a while. It's a disability that totally disconnects you.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 12 Dec 2021 02:15PM
I hope I haven't offended anyone with my obsession with facial expressions. 

I'm just aware that I don't always do as well as I'd like on facial expression tests as I'd like and that statistically that's not rare.

I'm also aware, having been on interview panels, that not everyone remembers that someone's facial expressions, body language, general demeanor etc. in an interview may be very different from how they are in a work setting.  That can differ both ways, better and worse.

So I don't say don't take facial expressions into account if it's something you're good at, just be aware that other panel members might not be so good at it.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 12 Dec 2021 03:07PM
Not at all offended sunny though I would be interested in how the statistics on the percentage of people misinterpreting facial expressions were accurately ascertained. While I am sure that there are people who do misinterpret facial expressions I suspect they are a small minority. Like ally, I rely on them a lot and can definitely "read" people pretty well. So we'll view this issue differently and that's okay.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 12 Dec 2021 03:47PM
I think it entirely plausible that only a small proportion of people misinterpret facial expressions, it's just that having my life blighted by so many hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people over the years misinterpreting mine, I am twitchy about it.   I've reached the point of stopping attending a variety of community groups where there was a turnover of attendees.  I'd be really interested in something someone was saying, then they'd be really put out because they thought I was annoyed.

That being so, given that you are good at facial expressions, I think that sort of thing can be touched upon indirectly in the post-interview chat, just as panel members address issues of whether others understand the equivalency of different qualifications or whether they understand some jargon. 

So if, going back to a non-mask illustration because it's a simple one, if someone keeps looking off to the side, you could casually ask "Do you think that was a tropia, or was he focussed on something else, or was he expressing cultural respect by not directing his gaze at a woman?  Was he looking at you, (name of male co-panellist)?"

Or with other facial expression "Do you think that his minimal facial expression could be interpreted by some patients as a lack of interest rather than its real reasons, or do you think his body language and vocal tone would make up for it?"

If people like you that are good at interpreting facial expressions don't make sure others aren't misinterpreting them, the likes of me will continue to go through life socially disadvantaged by some of our invisible disabilities and cultural differences that don't show up on paperwork.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 12 Dec 2021 04:57PM
I think that's where in every day relationships communication is key sunny. Whether irl or online we can interpret things in a certain way and it's important to be open that things may be different to how we have taken it so we ask questions to clarify. I think you and I do that really well online Sunny and I hope that if we ever met we would do that too. I probably would be able to if I met you and thought you appeared annoyed because I have got to know you over a number of years here. I admit that if someone that I don't know appears annoyed, I would be unlikely to question their feelings or meaning because, due to being an abuse survivor, I still walk on eggshells and avoid confrontation but I feel that I know you and don't feel that you would ever knowingly upset someone. I do separate that situation to that of interviewing a potential psychologist because facial expressions and body language are 100% crucial to the role and as I think about it, to an extent body language is an extension of facial expressions and without the facial expressions the body language is far less clear. For other roles I wouldn't have such an issue with the applicant wearing a mask.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 12 Dec 2021 05:22PM
I've interviewed counsellors in my role as director of a charity, and I can see where you're coming from.

That being said, how do you differentiate between people who use different body language and facial expressions in interview/formal situation, and how they do in session?  We did it by getting them to spend time with the sort of people they'd be helping and watching their interactions, particularly how they adjusted for different sorts of people.  But that wasn't observing their one-on-one counselling.

That being said, I suppose we could have placed more emphasis on things like facial expression than we did.  We placed more emphasis on understanding of cultural differences, both in the most often used sense of cultural differences relating to religion and geographical origin, but also in terms of little things like recognising that some people from very rural communities might feel more comfortable having therapy in the context of our semi-outdoor and outdoor settings. 

Who knows whether we were right?

But then I've had some very widely contrasting experiences of therapy myself, and some of the worst was with someone I'd previously known and knew afterwards.  It was someone who was experienced, professional, competent, kind etc. but who lacked explicitness, leading to seriously damaging misunderstandings.  Indeed, that's been an issue with most of the mental health professionals that were in my care as an adult.  I best most therapists and other mental health professionals are explicit about things in interview.

So I suppose at least if you look for things like facial expression and body language it is giving you useful information about them.  If nothing else, it gives you a bit of a feel about whether they are good at acting the part and putting on the right show for a job interview, which means they may also be good at acting the part and putting on a good show for a therapy session.
Title: Re: Wearing a face covering in public
Post by: Fiz on 13 Dec 2021 04:43PM
As it turns out, I don't think that the interviewee wearing a mask was the hindrance that I had expected. He managed to answer all the questions with obvious understanding and empathy, it wasn't just the words, but the thoughtful pauses and his honesty. The only weird thing about the mask wearing was, were I ever to meet him again without mask, I would have no idea that I have met him before because I have little clue as to what he looks like!