University of Oxford Professor Jim Naismith asserts that despite England dropping its mask mandate in July and Scotland keeping its rules in force, official data shows this “has made no meaningful difference” to infection rates.
Naismith goes on to argue that new face mask mandates imposed in England today are “unlikely to have much of an impact” in fighting off the spread of the Omicron variant.
Despite flatlining case numbers and declining deaths, partly achieved because England chose to lift lockdown restrictions in the summer unlike many European countries, mask mandates are once again back in force.
Face coverings are compulsory in shops, on public transport and numerous other venues arbitrarily chosen by the government.
Highlighting the absurdity of the rules, face masks are mandatory in takeaways but not restaurants, meaning you have to wear one if picking up a takeaway but not if you stay inside the restaurant for a sit down meal.
According to Naismith, Director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute and Professor of Structural Biology at the University of Oxford, masks are largely pointless.
“The ONS survey results on prevalence shows that the Scottish and English approach to masking, although formally different since July, has made no meaningful difference to Delta,” writes Naismith.
“In both countries very high levels of prevalence have continued for months. Thus the new changes announced are unlikely to have much of an impact if Omicron does indeed spread rapidly,” he added.
As the graph above illustrates, despite England dropping mask mandates and Scotland keeping them in place after July, infection rates were similar or indeed higher in Scotland.