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Telling public to wear masks 'could put NHS supplies at risk'

"Myrna Menge" (2020-06-05)

Coronavirus could be 'wiped out' if 80 to 90 per cent of Britons wear DIY masks, an Oxford University expert has claimed today. 

Free Images : table, floor, washing, furniture, hardwood ...The homemade masks, which have become the focus of intense debate during the pandemic, would only have to be 80 to 90 per cent effective and would mean we could 'all get on with our lives', according to Professor Trish Greenhalgh. 

From vacuum cleaner bags to cut-up T-shirts, multiple layers of tightly woven fabric can work as a mask because they can protect against airborne particles, which could turn the tide on COVID-19 in the UK, she said. 

The professor of primary healthcare at Oxford backed the Government's view that making facemasks compulsory for everyone once lockdown eases would 'put NHS supplies at risk' for people on the frontline.  

NHS bosses have warned ministers that making masks compulsory when lockdown eases could be dangerous for healthcare staff amid current shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE).  

The UK's top scientific advisers are meeting today to review evidence on whether masks halt the spread of coronavirus, with a formal announcement expected at this evening's Downing Street press conference.

Coronavirus could be effectively 'wiped out' if 80 to 90 per cent of the UK population wears DIY facemasks, amid warnings medical grade masks must be reserved for frontline NHS workers (pictured in Lincoln this weekend) to protect supplies  

How to make your own coronavirus face mask: Online DIY tutorials detail method for vacuum cleaner wood floors cleaner bag or T-shirt to create protection that leading scientists say is effective against bug

Speaking during a web briefing for the Royal Society of Medicine, Professor Greenhalgh said: 'If 80 to 90 per cent of us do it, and if the masks were say 80-90 per cent effective, that would probably - the modellers say - be enough to reduce the effective R0 down to wipe out this disease and we can all get on with our lives,' she said.