Deceptive security through masks?

All federal states have decided to make a mask compulsory – but this does not end the debate about the meaning of the measure. Doctors criticize the regulation and warn of deceptive and inferior security.

World Medical President Frank Ulrich Montgomery has sharply criticized the mask requirement that will apply throughout Germany in the fight against the corona virus from next week. Whoever wears a mask is tempted by a deceptive feeling of security to forget the "only decisive minimum distance", said Montgomery of the "Rheinische Post". The masks could also be dangerous if used improperly, warned the chairman of the World Medical Association.

The virus is concentrated in the fabric, the skin of the face is touched when losing weight, and infection is hardly possible any faster. He wears a mask himself "out of courtesy and solidarity", but considers a legal obligation to be "wrong".

Montgomery also criticized the fact that state governments consider the wearing of simple masks as well as the use of scarves or shawls for respiratory protection as sufficient. An obligation to wear scarves or shawls in front of the face is "ridiculous". At the same time, he emphasized that "genuinely effective masks" are currently still needed for medical staff, nursing staff and those directly at risk.

Warning of a regulation for children

At the same time, the pediatrician and adolescent doctor Thomas Fischbach warned of a mask requirement for kindergarten children to contain the corona pandemic. "There may also be younger children who accept mouth and nose protection, but the vast majority of them will see it more as a toy, tinker with it and thus increase the risk of infection," Fischbach told the newspapers of the Funke media group. It is therefore unwise if some federal states should prescribe the wearing of masks in public areas, even for small children

Fischbach also said that from a developmental psychological point of view, compulsory masks only make sense from primary school age. Primary school students are usually already able to use masks sensibly.

Debate with many twists and turns

Wearing protective masks in public areas will be in the future Mandatory throughout Germany be. In most federal states, this applies to traveling on buses and trains as well as shopping in stores. On Wednesday, Brandenburg, Bremen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland also announced corresponding regulations. The other ten federal states had already adopted or promulgated such regulations. The start date for the regulation differs, however.

The decisions had been preceded by a debate that lasted for weeks about the point of such a measure. Originally the Robert Koch Institute did not consider such a general rule necessary and, like the World Health Organization and many other doctors and politicians, took the view that only medical masks guarantee effective protection. In early April, the institute changed its stance and now explains that even a simple protective mask can reduce the risk of infecting another person. At the same time, wearing such masks can support health-conscious behavior.

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