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As Freedom Day looms, the disgusting face masks will be consigned to my bin forever but 40% of Brits say they’ll keep wearing them

Damian Wilson
Damian Wilson
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
As Freedom Day looms, the disgusting face masks will be consigned to my bin forever but 40% of Brits say they’ll keep wearing them
The psychological impact of the coronavirus pandemic is much greater than we thought if 40% of Brits are so scared they’d voluntarily wear those dreaded face masks even after the government says they’re no longer essential.

No doubt about it, our personal freedoms have taken a bit of a beating over the last 18 months but, hey, I get it, this coronavirus is a particularly indiscriminate and lethal virus and we have all had to pull together in a concerted effort to flatten that curve.

As we now peer through hedge, however, at what might be on the other side, it seems many have succumbed to a case of the nervous nellies and want to keep the more draconian of restrictions even as the impact of Covid-19 subsides and the number of those immunised continues to grow.

Also on rt.com Masks: Keep the long arm of the law away from my face

No one is saying we have this thing beaten but as neither deaths nor hospitalisations due to Covid-19 are anywhere near what they were at their peak, then maybe it’s just time to relax, breathe in and breathe out – without that disgusting face mask.

Because if there has been one thing about this pandemic that I’ve found particularly odious, it’s wearing that damn mask every time I want to step foot in a shop or jump on public transport. They’re all over the place, dropped from bags and pockets and lord knows how long they take to degrade. Yuck!

Apart from the personal issues of it always becoming entangled with the arms of my specs and the matter of condensation which continually fogs up my lenses, I just find them eeuugh!

So while the latest Ipsos MORI poll reveals that 40% of Brits support having to wear masks in shops and on public transport permanently – regardless of the risk from Covid-19 – I have to say, I’m not on board. When Bojo gives the nod to down masks, I’ll never voluntarily wear another.

Which puts me in the minority, as the pollsters found a huge 70% believed the mask rules should be in place for a month after July 19, despite this being the date we all expect them to no longer be essential wear.

Since when did so many become so timid? Presumably it’s these hand-wringers who number among the 19%, that’s nearly a fifth of those polled, who would support having a curfew against leaving home after 10pm without a good reason even as we plunge open-armed into the warm, welcome embrace of freedom.

A 10pm curfew during the summer school holidays? It’s still light across a swathe of the country, what would you do that for? This is madness!

Also on rt.com Making the wearing of face masks compulsory is inconsistent, illogical, illiberal & divisive

Then there is the 26%, a quarter in old money, who think nightclubs and casinos should remain closed. Run for your lives, the Taliban have taken over! If this state of permanent alarm is the real effect of the coronavirus on the collective psyche then Houston, we have a problem. Because there are masses of ordinary folk who are just waiting for the prime minister to fire his starting pistol before they charge out of the starting blocks to dance or dine out with friends, work from the office, stand at the bar and talk rubbish, book a flight to somewhere hot or maybe catch a gig or a play at the theatre. 

While not everyone wants to do all those things many will simply enjoy breathing unfiltered fresh air and the quivering minority can keep their masks, their social distance and their meek acquiescence to rules that even those health experts we’ve looked to throughout this pandemic admit should now be relaxed.

It’s clear that the psychological impact of Covid-19 has surpassed the nightmarish physical toll on the population and the effects will be with us for years to come. But safely ditching those horrid masks at the first opportunity is a huge step along the pathway to normality.

I can’t wait.

 

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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