We are tired of masks and look forward to the day when the masks order will be lifted. But most of us are absolutely convinced that wearing them during a pandemic is essential, as it is the least expensive to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19.
On Tuesday, April 20, Minister Niedzelsky, when asked when to cancel the obligation to wear masks in court, replied that it was “closer to the end of May.” That’s good news, because we’re already tired of wearing masks and waiting for a moment when we can, at least outside of confined spaces, wear them without restrictions.
Almost 60 percent of Poles consciously and freely want to protect themselves and their surroundings by covering their mouths and noses in public places. We mainly use surgical masks and reusable physical masks, but many times we use protection with a higher level of safety.
SW Research, commissioned by BISAF, the Polish manufacturer of FFP2 and FFP3 masks, has conducted a public opinion survey on the position of Poles on covering the mouth and nose during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our aim was to check what Poles think about the obligation to cover their mouths and nose, how they use masks and what they choose, and how masks are changing their everyday reality. This assessment is closely related to the concerns and approach taken in dealing with the pandemic – explains Michel Kuchinsky of BISAF.
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Masks have been with us for a year
In April 2020, the duty to cover the mouth and nose was introduced for the first time in Poland. Since then, masks have become a permanent item of clothing. Poles often use them at points of service (67%) and public transport (58%). The lowest mouth and nose coverage occurs during sports (21%) and social gatherings – in such a case a little more than 10%. Of respondents use a mask.
Two groups can be distinguished between the Poles. The first of them put on masks to protect themselves and others, and the second did so under legal or social coercion.
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Research results show that the majority of Poles are aware of the dangers of avoiding PPE. Almost 60 percent of respondents consciously and without coercion want to protect themselves and their surroundings – says Michał Kuczyński of BISAF.
When asked why the mouth and nose were not covered in public, the Poles cited difficulty breathing (56.5%), discomfort (31%) or steaming glasses (27.5%) as the cause. Every fourth of the respondents believed that wearing a mask was unhealthy, and that every fifth did not believe in reducing the transmission of the virus by covering the nose and mouth.
What do Poles cover their mouths and noses with?
Disposable surgical masks (79.6%) and reusable cloth masks (78.8%) are the most popular forms of covering the mouth and nose. Either way, popularity translates into social practice. Columns often wear masks from reusable materials (46.6%) and surgical masks (31.4%). It is likely that the predominance of physical forms resulted from the situation in the first stage of the pandemic, when the shortage of disposable masks was noticeable.
The research commissioned by BISAF shows that Every ten poles use a very low level safety face covering method, incl. Using clothing or a helmet. Respondents rarely reach FFP2 or FFP3 masks, that is, those with the highest clearance level. Only 12 percent use it on a daily basis. Poles, and over 30 percent. It was at least once.
Masks with FFP2 and FFP3 properties filter the inhaled and exhaled air and purify it from impurities and microorganisms. Using FFP3 masks allows to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus by almost 100 percent – Michał Kuczyński explains. Awareness of the properties of FFP masks is relatively low among respondents. Only every third electrode defines this type of mask with a higher level of safety.
Why do Poles avoid wearing masks? Most of the time, the reasons are the same as in the case of covering the face in public places: the comfort and convenience of using masks prevail. Nearly 70 percent of the respondents indicated that the barrier that prevents covering the mouth and nose is difficulty breathing, and as you think every second, the moisture of the mask. Only 12 percent. Poles have no problems using masks.
For respondents, availability of masks is not a constraint. Most often they are bought at a discount store, in a hypermarket (31.3%), in a pharmacy (25.1%), or online (12.7%). When purchasing a mask, the Poles are guided mainly by price, versatility and ease of use.