That point on the use of masks is one that made me take exception when I read the intro.
Locally, I don’t remember people NOT using masks because WHO said they were only useful in certain circumstances and not in others. I doubt anybody even cared about what WHO was saying on this topic.
People turned from “yet another round of pandemic scaremongering” to being concerned, and then effectively scared shitless in the turn of 3 weeks, 4 at most.
Health authorities also may have thought that it was better to err on the side of caution, instead of smugly telling people masks were useless.
Clearly, there’s a lot of location-based YMMV, though. First to come to mind is obviously Sweden, where mask use was only introduced on public transport last December, IIRC, and not elsewhere, but the usefulness of this reference point may be reduced by Tegnell’s stances, which may not have motivated directly by what WHO was or was not recommending.
However, it made me wonder about the extent of the effect WHO’s stance may have had in the US, where masks seemed to be a banner of political belonging, especially in certain States and areas.
Clearly for someone on board with Trump’s “COVID is a liberal hoax” early reaction, WHO’s skepticism on the usefulness of mask might have made for just a dash of extra cognitive dissonance, or maybe a minor annoyance at best.