Until last week I felt quite safe behind two layers of cloth. Then I discovered smart masks, an emerging high-tech generation of face coverings that promise to stop Covid-19 dead with their space-age materials, super-strength filtering and constant connectivity.
My standard fabric mask began to feel recklessly basic. My inhalations aren’t being zapped with bug-killing ultraviolet light. My breathing isn’t being monitored remotely. I may not be able to phone people without sounding muffled.
Respiration is suddenly aspirational. Alongside smart masks, online stores are proffering silky ranges of luxury-brand loveliness at Prada-quality prices. Yet will any of it actually protect us better against Covid-19? In fact, experts warn that these trends can actually make things worse.
It’s certainly true that cloth facemasks are old hat.