by Daily Mail December 20th 2020, 6:43 am

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is urging us to wear face masks around the Christmas table

Stifling. Itchy. Dehumanising. Oppressive. Profoundly un-British. Just some of the terms used to describe the experience of mask-wearing.

Despite the discomfort, we put up with it for the health of our nation and, so we’re told, to do what we can to bring this nightmare to an end, as soon as possible.

And last week, London Mayor Sadiq Khan argued that we should extend the annoyance to outdoors – on our high streets – to protect our fellow Christmas shoppers.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is urging us to wear face masks around the Christmas table.

But is all this face-mask-wearing helping? Surveys show that three-quarters of Britons are wearing masks in mandatory areas – public transport, offices, pubs and restaurants when not sitting at a table, and most indoor spaces.

Yet the infection is still spreading at a rate that requires 38 million Britons to be banned from mixing indoors with anyone outside of their household.

Last week, cases increased in every area of England bar Yorkshire and the Humber, and in some areas the infection rate leapt up to twice what it was in April.

So are they useless, after all? If Mr Khan’s logic is to be believed, perhaps the problem is that we aren’t wearing them outdoors – surrounded by crowds of people. But studies show that just one in 100 cases is transmitted outside.

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