WHO Updates Guidance on Mask. Should Australia Follow?

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-52945210?fbclid=IwAR3Z4MEx0M...

Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) has changed its advice on face masks, saying they should be worn in public where social distancing is not possible to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

This is in contrast with its previous advice, stating only medical face masks should be worn by people who are sick and by those caring for them.

Many other countries like Spain,USA and Taiwan have all made wearing masks mandatory either in public spaces or on public transport.

Question:Should Australian Government updates its guidance and make wearing masks/any face covering compulsory on public transport, airplanes or locations where there is community transmission and social distancing is impossible?

Poll Options expired

  • 114
    No - Keep it as it is.
  • 296
    Yes - Guidance should be updated.


  • +36 votes

    who's WHO? Their word still relevant?

  • +16 votes

    Yeah, like I'm listening to that corrupt outfit.

      • +32 votes

        The warning for January was that human to human transmission didn't occur because China said so, and not to close borders, also because China said so. They also delayed the pandemic status due to pressure and still only said it had the characteristics of a pandemic, rather than calling it one.

        Let's see what the WHO do have to say:


        • -24 votes

          They delayed Pandemic status because there are strict guidelines on calling pandemic. You don’t need a Pandemic called to act.

          Have a look at the WHO communications and tell me that Trump, and co, didn’t have plenty of warning. Trump was getting briefings in January about this,


          • +22 votes

            @try2bhelpful: From your link, the WHO are revisioning history, or being highly selective:

            "14 January 2020

            WHO's technical lead for the response noted in a press briefing there may have been limited human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus (in the 41 confirmed cases), mainly through family members, and that there was a risk of a possible wider outbreak. The lead also said that human-to-human transmission would not be surprising given our experience with SARS, MERS and other respiratory pathogens. "

            versus actual WHO Jan 14 tweet:

            “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China,” the organization had said."


            Regarding Trump, I wouldn't listen to his health advice if I wanted to stay alive. I do remember Scomo saying there was no urgent need to cancel rugby games, that could wait. Australia went ahead fully with the F1 GP and it was only the pit crew union that stopped the GP. That meant huge international crowds all descended on Australia during a world pandemic period. Those were truly stupid decisions excused only by a lack of consequence.

            There's a fair argument that Australia made some of the worst decisions possible during critical periods and just got lucky due to environmental or other factors.

            • -8 votes

              @Frugal Rock: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Health_Organization%27s_...

              The tweet was that the Chinese authorities had indicated no clear evidence of human to human transmission. That does not negate what was said in the press conference, it only indicates what Chinese authorities had told WHO. So what did you expect WHO to do at that stage? They are reporting on what the Nation with the issue is telling them from their investigations. That is not an indication of corruption and they made it clear this information came from China.

              The point is that the situation was confusing but WHO was issuing strong warnings. They had a definite follow up of human to human transmission on the 20th of January, according to a Wiki. This is only 6 days later. Frankly, I still think the timelines are short given un unknown disease. How long before China called in WHO is a different discussion.

              Amen on our decisions. The women’s T20 final at the MCG with 850 people yelling their heads off gives me the shivers even now.

          • +2 votes

            @try2bhelpful: How many acts of genocide constitutes a genocide?

            Something I'm reminded of

    • +1 vote

      The WHO were the body who influenced the plan for all nations to have a strategy for dealing with a sars like outbreak for the last 10 years. The plan that Australia used to make sure it had infrastructure and systems of information in place to handle this disaster.


        Yeah, that plan's worked well hasn't it? I guess that what's happens when you kow tow to communist regimes.

  • +6 votes

    Venturing out the front door and there is no social distancing … as is evident when you go to any shopping centre, department store and even some cafe and restaurants.

    • -8 votes

      How many days since any new infections in your region? If it's more than 14 the pandemic is over.

      • +1 vote

        the WHO guidance states…

        "the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult,"

        Australia does not have widespread transmission. no need here.

        • +1 vote

          I'd say for most of Australia this is true, but in hotspots it would be a smart idea, or areas where large numbers of people mix, or if sick. Honestly if you even have a normal cold/flu it would be a good idea that we get into the habit out of politeness. One thing that this has driven home is how much of just the regular seasonal flu is preventable.

  • +37 votes

    I think the mask advice changes with supply. Early on there were real supply problems and the advice was not to wear. Now supplies are up the advice is changing. I Think the argument for wearing on public transport, and probably supermarkets makes some sense.

    • +18 votes

      It was clearly propaganda to hold back the masses from rushing to the suppliers. To think people ran with the lie that masks did nothing unless they were high grade particle filter approved.


        A lot of what was being sold commercially is fake and given the level of mask wearing and the level of disease in a Australia it is, obvious, the average Australian doesn’t need to wear one. They were needed for people who were front line. Frankly, you can have my supply of masks.

      • +6 votes

        Yes, this. Every government knew no point telling people to wear masks, as they literally aren't enough of them. That's why once the US got enough masks, they started saying wear them.

        How easy it is to manipulate the mob, right?


          This is both true and not the whole story. Masks are much better at stopping people from giving others the virus than stopping people from getting the virus, if there's not a lot of virus in the community it doesn't make sense to wear a mask improperly unless sick. Once the odds of the mask wearer actually having the virus increases it's much more important. Unfortunately now in the US people won't wear masks because they don't believe anything (and also they believe everything).

          So many people here were wearing masks in a way that actually increased their chances of getting the virus (eg, pulling it down and then up, smearing any virus into your nose and mouth, or touching it, wearing it while damp etc). In those situations you'd be better off not wearing the mask, unless sick. But nuance is a tough message to sell to a public that doesn't cope with complexity.

          Obviously it's also true they admitted to trying to dissuade the public from using their medical stockpile, which should have been handled differently, but you could see all the doctors dying in Italy etc and see why they were terrified of the same.

    • +17 votes

      Exactly. They had to lie to prevent supply issues for health care workers, plain and simple.

      Masks work, we should all wear them in crowded places.

    • +11 votes

      Definitely lies to prevent running out of masks. Which makes sense when emergency staff need it at hospitals, but it annoys me that people are running around going masks don't work coz WHO said so. Even a nurse told me this. Well what about the billions of people in Asia wearing one? And the pandemic is under control over there? Were they wrong? People are sheep.

      • +4 votes

        It is scary that it only takes one person to start another wave - look at Bundaberg and Brisbane this week. Bundaberg had no active cases and now an "essential worker" has been allowed to enter the state and move freely while infected.

  • +7 votes

    WHO really has lost some credibility by downplaying the severity of this issue and not taking it that seriously at the start.

  • +11 votes

    pandemic is over

    it's riot season now

    so get together and protest in mass gathering

  • +5 votes

    I intend to continue wearing my masks to protect against flu and covid. And I have found a new use for my disposable masks. To keep the sun off my face. And at night to keep warm from the cold.


      You sleep at home in your mask? Lol, I don't want to take away from you cause I agree, but please not the disposables for such purposes. I'm not that prudent myself with the disposable PPE but surely we're safe at home unless you don't trust your roomies.

  • +23 votes

    Plenty of studies that show face masks are effective (up to 80%) in preventing transmission

    We've come so close to eradicating the disease, might as well wear masks so we can get rid of it completely.


      Social distancing. Why you want to wear a face mask and get close to unknown strangers?


        Humans are social animals. Physical interactions is in our DNA.

        • +1 vote

          Survival of the fittest. Those who can adapt. Virus adapt to live. We refuse to adapt to live. Sounds like a good survival plan.


            @netjock: You’re right. It is survival of the fittest. The sooner the lockdown and social distancing is over the sooner the virus can do what it was designed to do.


              @whooah1979: You only need to go take a walk in a crowded place to realise most of the population would be wiped out. Hell if we go by posts here most people struggle to put their pants on in the morning, you think they could survive such a potentially fatal virus?


            @netjock: so basically the shutins inherit the earth


              @sarahlump: Basically same concept as those who get drunk then go walking in the bush and fall over a cliff in the dark. Except this time you've been told not to go out. Given there are good reasons to go out but you just need to be careful.

              Risk is multiplied when you are out more often, be in presence of strangers and confined space more often. We all like a perfect world but it is imperfect. Adapt or suck up the consequences. Logic not hysteria will get you through this.


      Do you have any links to the studies that show effectiveness of cloth masks for an average person? I have a feeling that the number that many people claim (up to 80%) is based on the case when a proper mask (not a reusable one) is used and it is applied correctly (e.g. no touching of the mask when removing it, adjusting it only with clean hands, etc things that doctors know). I would like to read more studies based on real-world mask usage.

  • +5 votes

    recent events have proven that WHO is useless and stupid. No wonder it is named so. Trump is right to pull out.

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