Greetings from Tokyo – I would like to share my observations and experiences regarding mask usage.
Here in Japan, there is high compliance to mask wearing. On the streets in the open air you’ll find the vast majority wearing masks and in any indoor spaces asking for them you’ll see few people try to resist.
In precisely the most intimate situations, masks are off. Japanese restaurants can be extremely tiny and people are often sharing tables barely more than about 30cm wide. Throughout Tokyo and across the country you can see millions of people spending hours together in this sort of space with no masks.
Secondly, public baths and hot springs do not require masks. I have been to the local public bath 3-4 a week all of 2020 where I am shoulder to shoulder with other patrons with no masks.
So when we are told that masks explain the low rates of Covid severity here I beg to differ. We know that co-morbidities, low vitamin D levels, perhaps dry air etc have much more explanatory value, so it’s important to contest the idea that masks are responsible.