Dozens of anti-maskers have taken to the internet to reveal their way around the compulsory wearing of face coverings during the coronavirus pandemic.
Since masks were made mandatory in some parts of the US, a minority has continued to reject the order, claiming it is more about compliance than safety.
After research during the pandemic found material face masks were effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19, there has been a boom in home-made masks which have been sold either in the community or online.
While UNSW epidemiologist Professor Mary-Louise McLaws previously told Yahoo News Australia the science behind fabric coverings isn’t “top level”, they do make a difference.
Yet the growing trend of one type of fabric face mask sold online has drawn widespread condemnation.
Mesh or ‘fishnet’ masks with hundreds of small holes in them are being widely sold online, notably on popular e-commerce site Etsy.
Following their introduction in July, the website responded to criticism of their sale, telling Business Insider they were “committed to keeping our community safe and [working] to actively review and remove items that violate our policies”.
Months later, anti-maskers are still purchasing the ineffective masks and uploading images of themselves while boasting of how they are able to deceive authorities.
“This is the perfect mix of helping the fearful to feel safe while I can still breathe and not be constrained,” one person said.
“This lets me ‘follow’ mask mandates without really being compliant,” another wrote.
“I wear this out when asked to put one on.. it's cool and I can breathe. No one says a thing, which just goes to show that it's not about your health it's solely about your compliance,” one comment read.
“Love the ability to comply my way,” another said.
“I beat the system,” one person boasted.
Etsy has moved to notify shoppers purchasing masks on their site with a warning on each mask product.
“Items sold on Etsy, such as masks and hand sanitisers, aren’t medical-grade. Etsy sellers can’t make medical or health claims,” it says.
One mask store states the sale of their “breathable” masks are to make those who are exempt from wearing masks, either for medical or psychological reasons, feel comfortable and are not for preventing the spread of the virus.
Some of the reviews on Etsy indicate people are wearing them for those reasons.
Other sellers simply said the masks were for novelty purposes or fashion items.
Yet those purchasing them to simply navigate around mask policies were slammed on social media when a handful of photo reviews were shared in a now viral tweet this week.
“How are Americans this embarrassing,” the tweet read.
“When they all get Covid, ERs should turn them away for stupidity,” one person said.
“It's sad to see people have so much disregard for the health of others and just don't care if their actions lead to other people dying or being left disabled for the rest of their lives....all because it's so hard to wear a mask for 5 mins,” another comment read.
“We’re doomed,” one user simply wrote.
Another described wearing the masks as “selfish”.
Yahoo News Australia has contacted Etsy for comment.
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