'The tide has turned': Expert calls for rethink on major Covid rule

One of Australia’s top doctors has suggested it could be time for us to consider ditching masks.

Former deputy chief medical officer Dr Nick Coatsworth tweeted on Tuesday he thinks “the tide has turned on masks”.

“People recognise they had a place at a time of uncertainty, but are appropriately re-assessing their value especially in schools,” he tweeted.

“It is a good time to re-evaluate primary and secondary school mask policy in all Australian jurisdictions.”

Dr Nick Coatsworth speaks to the media during a press conference at the Australian Department of Health in Canberra.
Former Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth believes it might be time to scrap masks. Source: AAP

In NSW, mask mandates for indoor settings will last until at least February 27 and are set to be dropped on March 1. They also remain in Queensland.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said on Tuesday if masks were removed it would be with the understanding that if infections did increase they would be reintroduced.

Victoria hasn’t made any moves to drop the mask mandate either.

Cases at this stage appear to be steadying. In NSW, for example, 8.201 new cases were recorded on Tuesday with a seven-day average of about 8,300.

People wearing masks walk in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge at Circular Quay in Sydney.
A woman wears a mask at Circular Quay. Source: AAP

Two weeks ago, NSW was recording more than 11,000 cases a day while cases in mid-January were almost triple that number.

Regardless, science has shown masks work.

Dr Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and a Senior Fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, tweeted last week that masks work and cited research from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.

The study found people wearing cloth masks had a 56 per cent less chance of catching coronavirus while those wearing surgical ones had a 66 per cent less chance.

NSW Health tweeted similar research on Tuesday.

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