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  • Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC

  • Learning English. I'm Rob.

  • And I'm Sam.

  • With the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic,

  • people in many countries around the world

  • have started wearing face masks to protect

  • both themselves and others they come into

  • contact with. In this programme we'll

  • be asking whether wearing masks in public

  • can help prevent the spread of coronavirus

  • in the community?

  • Face masks have long been popular in some

  • Asian countries but with the spread of

  • Covid-19, they're increasingly being seen in other

  • parts of the world too.

  • Wearing a protective mask or face covering

  • is nothing new. Medical masks have a long

  • history from the plagues of medieval Europe

  • to nineteenth century outbreaks of cholera

  • in the United States, but when did they start

  • to be commonly used? That's my quiz question

  • for today: when and where were face masks

  • first widely used? Was it:

  • a) 1855 in Vienna, b) 1905 in Chicago, or

  • c) 1955 in London.

  • Well, you mentioned cholera outbreaks in the

  • US, so I'll say b) 1905 in Chicago.

  • Right Sam, we'll find out later if you were

  • right. Now, face masks may inspire confidence

  • but what is the evidence that they actually

  • protect the wearer from contracting the virus

  • or prevent infected people from spreading

  • the virus to others?

  • Professor Robert West has conducted a review

  • of over twenty studies looking into the evidence.

  • Here he is speaking to the BBC World Service

  • programme Health Check

  • The evidence is equivocal on it. It doesn't

  • tell you anything yet - hopefully that will

  • change. So we're thrown back on first principles

  • and this is why, as in so many areas of public

  • health, you get such a heated debate because

  • people are really relying on their opinion

  • on things and you will have one group who

  • say, 'Well, it stands to reason',

  • the good old

  • 'stands to reason' argumentwhich

  • is: obviously, if you've got a covering

  • in front of your face, and you're speaking

  • or coughing into that covering, it's going

  • to trap quite a lot of the virus on the droplets

  • you'll be emitting.

  • So far the evidence over whether face masks

  • are helpful or harmful is equivocaldifficult

  • to interpret because it seems to have two

  • opposite or contradictory meanings.

  • Based on current evidence, Professor West

  • feels we cannot say whether mask-wearing

  • is beneficial.

  • Some evidence suggests that wearing masks

  • can prevent the disease spreading and some

  • suggests the opposite.

  • There may be reasons why wearing

  • masks could actually increase the spread

  • of coronavirus.

  • However for some people, it stands to reason

  • that masks are beneficialmeaning it is

  • obviously true from the facts.

  • Actually, the evidence is far from obvious.

  • But everyone has an opinion on the issue and

  • after weeks of stressful lockdown, this can

  • lead to heated debatediscussion or argument

  • in which people become angry and excited.

  • Up until recently, the World Health Organisation

  • said there were two groups who definitely

  • should wear masks: people showing symptoms

  • of the virus and their carers.

  • But that left the problem of people who have

  • the virus without knowing it and maybe

  • unintentionally emitting itsending

  • something out into

  • the air, for example a noise or smell, or

  • in this case, coronavirus. In June the WHO

  • advice changednow they say masks should

  • be worn in public where social distancing

  • measures are not possible.

  • But the advantages of wearing masks might

  • be outweighed by other considerations, as

  • Professor West explains

  • It could also have unfortunate negative

  • consequences in terms of mask shaming

  • that people feel

  • compelled to wear masks in situations where

  • it's actually not helpful and may be harmful

  • because it's expected of them and they feel

  • that they would be judged if they didn't.

  • But I think in addition to that, one of the

  • problems we have is that masks can potentially

  • create a false sense of security.

  • One negative effect is the practice of mask

  • shamingcriticising or humiliating someone

  • for not wearing a face covering.

  • Another problem is that wearing masks might

  • create a false sense of security – a feeling

  • of being safer than you really are. Is that

  • what happened in 1905 Rob?

  • Ah yes, today's quiz question. I asked you

  • when face masks were first widely used?

  • And I said, b) 1905 in Chicago.

  • Well done Sam, you were absolutely right!

  • It was 1905 in Chicago when Dr Alice Hamilton

  • first noticed that carers wearing masks to

  • treat scarlet fever patients,

  • did not get sick.

  • Interesting. Today we we've been discussing

  • whether wearing masks helps prevent infected

  • people emittingor sending out, coronavirus.

  • So far the evidence is equivocalunclear

  • because it seems contradictory. In other words,

  • we can't say either way for certain.

  • But for some, it stands to reason - meaning

  • it's obviously true - that mask-wearing

  • is a good idea.

  • This disagreement over wearing face coverings

  • has started heated debatethat's discussion

  • which becomes angry or excited.

  • And this in turn has led to incidents of mask

  • shamingcriticising or mocking people

  • for not wearing a face mask.

  • A final drawback is that masks might give

  • the wearer a false sense of securitythat's

  • belief that they are safe when they are not.

  • That's all we've got time for today.

  • Bye for now!

  • Bye!

Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC

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B1 wearing mask evidence shaming emitting covering

Should we wear a face mask? 6 Minute English

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/03
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