How to stop your glasses steaming up – and 19 other essential facts about face masks

How often should you wash a cloth mask? And how effective are the disposable ones? The expert guide to choosing, wearing and caring for your face covering

The British have been slow to embrace face masks, despite calls from public health experts. Uptake has been just 25% in the UK, compared with 83.4% in Italy and 65.8% in the US. The president of the Royal Society, Venki Ramakrishnan, said this week that wearing one “is the right thing to do” and that a refusal to do so should be seen as socially unacceptable as drink-driving or not wearing a seatbelt.

Perhaps one of the problems has been the changing advice as new evidence emerges. The World Health Organization (WHO) now recommends people wear cloth masks. Ramakrishnan said that in the UK, “the message has not been clear enough, so perhaps people do not really understand the benefits or are not convinced”. It also doesn’t help that the guidance across the UK is different.

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