Exactly. It doesn't translate to Coronavirus.
The Asian mask wearing is out of politeness to not spread on a cough/cold that the wearer has. It's not specific to any previous pandemic (bird/swine flu, etc), it's more aimed at the common cold.
But if anyone has Coronavirus symptoms they shouldn't be outside, mask or not.
It also only works in a society/culture where the majority of people have a mutual respect for their fellow citizen.
My comment was geared towards mask use for more commonly accepted, less deadly illnesses: colds, seasonal influenza. Would be great if Sarah from HR could keep her germs to herself instead of spreading them around the office thanks very much.
Anyone with corona symptoms should isolate, and employers should enforce this.
I was under the impression that mask use became more prevalent and more expected following bird and swine flu. At least that’s what I’ve been told by Korean and Japanese contacts.