- Boris Johnson made face masks optional in England on July 19 on ‘Independence Day’
- And polls show that one in ten Britons have stopped wearing them
- Office for National Statistics said, not wearing them increases the risk of infection
Data shows that people who do not wear face masks indoors are twice as likely to test positive for COVID.
Boris Johnson made coverings optional in England on Independence Day in July, despite top No. 10 scientists urging them to keep them mandatory.
The survey shows that one in ten Britons – around 4 million people – have already stopped wearing them, amid growing belief that the worst of the pandemic is over.
For those who said they sometimes wore masks indoors, data suggested they were up to 32 percent more likely to catch COVID.
Face masks help prevent the spread of the coronavirus by capturing the tiny droplets left by infected people.
But the science on how well they work has been poor, although experts insist that the benefits of wearing the coverings are clear.
The above graph shows the probability of catching COVID in people who did not wear a face mask outside (dark blue) compared to those who wore a face mask. It also shows data on the risk of catching COVID for those in contact with under-18s and children in the age group of 18 to 69 years.
Since face masks have become optional in England, the number of people not wearing them has increased across the country. One in ten Britons no longer wear a face mask. The graph above shows people saying they’ve used coverings as of September 5th
The above figure shows the risk of testing positive for COVID based on sex, household size, multi-generational households, ethnicity, whether one lives in an urban or rural area, and disadvantage.
The above graph shows that the COVID positivity rate was highest among the younger age groups from two weeks to 11 September, the latest available
The above graph shows the estimated risk of testing positive for COVID by vaccination status, past COVID infection, employment, disability and smoking
Vaccinated people are up to 65% less likely to test positive
Data shows that people who are double-vaccinated are up to 65 percent less likely to catch the virus than those who still haven’t gotten their jabs.
The latest ONS data suggested this was the case for AstraZeneca-jabbed people up to 150 days after their second dose.
For Pfizer recipients, they were 48 percent less likely to be infected.
Studies show that vaccines reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from the virus.
But it doesn’t prevent infection in every case.
There is also evidence that the protection offered by vaccines diminishes over time.
Boris Johnson has launched a booster program to ‘top up’ immunity against the virus in people over the age of 50.
More than 89.6 percent of people over the age of 16 — or 48.7 million — have received a single dose of the vaccine.
And 82.3 percent — or 44.7 million — have got both jobs.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysis was based on data from its weekly COVID surveillance report.
It looked at people who tested positive for the virus between August 29 and September 11.
It found that people who said they had never worn face masks indoors were up to 98 percent more likely to test positive than those who said they always wore them.
And those who said they sometimes wore a face covering were about a third more likely to catch the virus.
Some respondents did not require face masks during the study period because they were isolated at home.
The ONS study involved more than 110,000 people, most of whom – 97,000 – said they were still wearing masks.
There were 869 positive cases among those who always wore masks (0.9%).
Of those who never wore a mask, 136 out of 7,500 tested positive (1.8 percent), and for those who sometimes did, 104 out of 9,100 tested positive (1.1 percent).
England does not currently require the use of face masks, but they are still required on Transport for London.
But if the NHS comes under continued pressure this winter, Boris Johnson has warned they could be made mandatory again in public places.
Scotland still has rules requiring masks to be worn when in shops, on public transport, and when sitting in restaurants and pubs.
In Wales, coverings are still mandatory on public transport and indoors in public areas.
And in Northern Ireland they are still required to be worn in shops and hospitality venues.
Despite their use being mandated or encouraged in almost every country in the world, during pandemics there has been a heated scientific debate about how well they protect against transmission.
Data shows Britons who don’t wear face masks indoors are more likely to catch COVID (stock)
Lab tests and observational studies have shown that masks can prevent infected people from releasing up to 80 percent of the virus into the air and protect wearers from inhaling up to 50 percent of the particles.
But real-world studies, which involve greater scientific rigor, have produced mixed results.
Experts previously told MailOnline that the vaccines were working so well that there was no reason to wear a face mask.
But he said coverings could still be beneficial in tubes such as hospitals, care homes and crowded places with poor ventilation.
He said that high grade FFP3 masks would be the best option as compared to homemade cloth masks.