Health

Should you wear a mask outside at all times?


Should you wear a mask outside at all times?

I’m leaving my house and going somewhere outdoors, and there’s a chance there might be some crowds.

Yes, you should wear a mask. The Centers for Disease Control states if you think you might have trouble staying six feet away from others, you’ll need to take the proper precautions to protect those around you. That means keeping the mask on any time you might be sharing a narrow sidewalk with others or sitting at a park a little too close to another person. In San Francisco, you now must wear a mask any time you're within 30 feet of another person you don't live with, even when exercising.

It should also be noted that wearing a mask doesn’t mean you don’t need to socially distance.

“Wearing cloth face coverings is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” the CDC notes. “CDC still recommends that you stay at least six feet away from other people (social distancing), frequent hand cleaning and other everyday preventive actions. A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but it may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others. This would be especially important if someone is infected but does not have symptoms.”

Should you wear a mask outside at all times?

It’s the hot topic of contentious debates between you and friends, family, and maybe even a few strangers: Do you need to wear a mask outside?

There are myriad opinions on the topic, not just between relative dilettantes, but the experts as well.

Let’s start with the most pressing question: Why should you wear a mask at all?

While much is still unknown about the novel coronavirus and the resulting disease, COVID-19, scientists do know that it’s a respiratory infection transmitted through water droplets traveling through the air. The virus is particularly contagious when someone with the virus sneezes or coughs.

There’s another complicating factor: Many people who are infected with the coronavirus are asymptomatic, or don’t know that they have it because they aren’t experiencing any symptoms.

As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and health officials all over the world are advising everyone to assume they have it and to wear a mask to prevent its spread.

But does that mean you always have to wear a mask? The answer depends on a few things, so you’ll need to consider a few scenarios.


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