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Public advice on wearing face masks in Australia has changed, but what about public perception?

The Australian government initially issued statements advising that wearing a face mask was “not generally recommended,” and that, “the chance of coming into contact with someone with COVID-19 is low.” Now, mask-wearing in Melbourne and Mitchell shire is being deemed compulsory, with those who fail to comply with regulations risking fines of $200.

The attitude towards the urgency of face-masks is shifting, but not everyone is on the same page. Viral social media posts in the US have shown those refusing to wear masks, and in Melbourne similar sentiments have been expressed in the news cycle.

So, why the pushback? Co-Director of the Master of Infectious Diseases Intelligence course at UNSW, Dr Holly Seale sheds light on the varied response. Master of Infectious Diseases Intelligence Program at UNSW, Dr Abrar Ahmad Chughtai stressed the importance of masks but acknowledged that they were not the sole solution.

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