health

Do we need masks outdoors? Experts weigh in

29 Comments
By Issam AHMED

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29 Comments
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If you're outside and not near anyone, then no. If you're coming close to people then pull it up or put it on.

And for Pete's sake, stop driving alone in your car with a mask on.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Let me be very clear about one point, the WHO has said since the beginning of the pandemic, and it has never changed its position that, people should only wear masks inside when social distancing is not posible.

But sadly masks have not only become political, but also a social issue to the point that it has become almost like a religion or a creed, and instead of science, misinformation not based on any type of recommendation by experts is spread under the false label of "science".

The media being the main culprit, but also political stunts, and misguided recommendations from governments have most of the blame.

Just looking at comments, a lot of people will ignore the recommendation of experts.

Also, another problem that is not talked here but has also been a consistent position of the WHO is the fact that people should not wear a mask when doing exercise, yet, for example here in Japan, virtually all Gyms have made it mandatory to wear masks.

There has been evidence and recent studies that have found that it is actually dangerous to do exercise while using a mask, but this recommendation by the WHO is also ignored, and replaced by something that is overkill.

It seems that, as long as it makes people feel safe, or feels like "doing something", people will ignore science at that point and go their own way.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“Japan, despite being notoriously crowded, saw a drop in mortality during 2020 and has a very low death rate. Mask use is common.”

That’s to do with the general good health of the population. (Are we forgetting crowded izakaya?)

3 ( +6 / -3 )

In our isolated location, we and just about everyone else wear a mask when outdoors.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

The problem is about balance and compromise. In places like Japan where mask use is common and it is not politized the safer option is to recommend its use even outside as long as you are in contact with other people, the risk reduction is less important than indoors but there is no "cost" for the vast majority of people.

In other countries unfortunately masks became political statements, and some people will react strongly against it at any opportunity, in that situation it can become better to accept the small increment of risk product of telling people is fine to stay maskless outside if that will help making more use them while indoors.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

This article is about wearing masks OUTSIDE. Although only very limited data is provided it shows that outdoor transmission is very low. 99.9% is transmitted INDOORS. If there is more data I'd like to know about it.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Depends on which "experts" are consulted.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7680614/

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Stanford University indicates masks are useless against COVID and prolonged use can cause serious health issues.

But it won't stop the propagandists from trying.

Coming soon: "Do we need DOUBLE masks outdoors? Experts weigh in."

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Mask mandates were lifted in a handful of American States at the beginning of March. No indication of uptick in cases as a result.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

A simple rule for MASKS:

If it is safe to [pass gas] unashamedly, it is safe to remove a mask.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What the WHO actually said can be found here (I would recommend reading it in full but if you are lazy some quote to motivate people to go to original source each time someone claim B say that without bothering offering a link) :

file:///C:/Users/owner/AppData/Local/Temp/WHO-2019-nCov-IPC_Masks-2020.5-eng-1.pdf

Regarding outdoor or social distancing :

In areas of known or suspected community or cluster SARS-CoV-2 transmission: ­

WHO advises that the general public should wear a non-medical mask in indoor (e.g. shops, shared workplaces, schools - see Table 2 for details) or outdoor settings where physical distancing of at least 1 metre cannot be maintained.­

If indoors, unless ventilation has been be assessed to be adequate1, WHO advises that the general public should wear a non-medical mask, regardless of whether physical distancing of at least 1 metre can be maintained.

Regarding sport and gym :

WHO advises that people should not wear masks during vigorous intensity physical activity (143) because masks may reduce the ability to breathe comfortably. The most important preventive measure is to maintain physical distancing of at least 1 meter and ensure good ventilation when exercising.

If the activity takes place indoors, adequate ventilation should be ensured at all times through natural ventilation or a properly functioning or maintained ventilation system (144). Particular attention should be paid to cleaning and disinfection of the environment, especially high-touch surfaces. If all the above measures cannot be ensured, consider temporary closure of public indoor exercise facilities (e.g., gyms).

And to match guidance for mask use, putting it on and removing it during each change of setting will prove itself an asle :

•Perform hand hygiene before putting on the mask.

[...]

•Place the mask carefully, ensuring it covers the mouth and nose,adjust to the nose bridgea nd tie it securely to minimize any gaps between the face and the mask. If using ear loops, ensure these do not cross over as this widens the gap between the face and the mask.

•Avoid touching the mask while wearing it. If the mask is accidently touched, perform hand hygiene

.•Remove the mask using the appropriate technique. Do not touch the front of the mask, but rather untie it from behind.

[...]

•Either discard the mask or place it in a clean plastic resealable bag where it is kept until it can be washed and cleaned. Do not store the mask around the arm or wrist or pull it down to rest around the chin or neck.

•Perform hand hygiene immediately afterward discarding a mask. •Do not re-use single-use mask.

•Discard single-use masks after each use and properly dispose of them immediately upon removal

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The UK has had one of, if not the highest excess death rates in Europe and has never mandated the wearing of masks in public - only in shops and on public transport.

Japan, despite being notoriously crowded, saw a drop in mortality during 2020 and has a very low death rate. Mask use is common.

So unless these experts can come up with another distinction to account for the difference, I'd encourage folk to keep wearing masks. Because as soon as you green light not wearing them, folk will just not bother.

The other issue is that social distancing never works and is almost universally ignored, except in mandated spaces (queues in shops, unused seats). It is also impossible to police. Mask use is easy to police. Not that it is - how many people do you see using them as chin protectors?

Social distancing is also impossible in many circumstances, where mask use is an option. You can't just stop people working in factories or the supermarkets would empty of food.

Of course you might not need to wear them when there is nobody within 30 yards of you, but walking along any pavement in the UK will bring you close enough to those passing you to present a risk.

Articles like this are unhelpful and could cost lives. Are they trying to keep the virus going? Masks are a cheap and easy layer of protection - not perfect, but better than not using them. Buy ones that you can wash and re-use, not the disposable ones.

Remove the vaccine bottlenecks and get on with the roll out. And stop diluting the basic messages with rubbish like this. The idea that people know exactly where they were infected, indoors or out, particularly given the asymptomatic nature of so many cases, is just ridiculous.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

“Science would suggest the popular narrative is wrong...”

It is

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Carry a (double) mask and wear it with kindness.

Double masks are silly and useless. Only Democrats wear them as a political statement.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Lostrune- mask use is down in many places in the U.S. In addition to mandates being lifted, many are vaccinated, and I think the rest are just tired of them.

Some businesses require them but some people are starting to ignore the signs. And believe me the mask removers are not just Republicans.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Phil- yes, the hypotheses is actually published under NIH. Frankly, I’ll still believe this over Fauci any day.

But a real Stanford doctor did just reveal that masks are bad for kids.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Weird how the US states with lockdowns and mask mandates have the worst coronavirus situations while places with less restrictions nextdoor are better off:

https://mobile.twitter.com/aginnt/status/1383553315980464133

Science would suggest the popular narrative is wrong...

0 ( +11 / -11 )

In an interview today, Dr. Fauci said that although it is practical for the 25% of people who are fully vaccinated to go without masks most of the time, it is simpler for everyone not to try to make exceptions for those already immune. It gets too confusing.

My guess would be that in a few more months, if we can get to a 75+% vaccination position, and herd immunity, we can get rid of masks for most occasions.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Weird how the US states with lockdowns and mask mandates have the worst coronavirus situations while places with less restrictions nextdoor are better off:

The problem is that careful epidemiological controls have to be done for a valid conclusion. In many cases the much worse situation is the one that originates the need for mandates and lockdowns (not the opposite), in other cases a population that is particularly obedient can improve the situation and make the mandates redundant at the same time. Science would not be proving itself wrong, only an incomplete analysis would be be the one that misleadingly says so.

My guess would be that in a few more months, if we can get to a 75+% vaccination position, and herd immunity, we can get rid of masks for most occasions.

Likely but depends on the drop of new infections, at this moment the levels required for this are not yet known, but once new cases begin to become scarce this is a expected development.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

If I want to know what the experts think, ill read the comments section.

I think that it is no coincidence that there is a close to 100% overlap in mask shamers and virtue signal types

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Do we need masks outdoors?

We are allowed to use common sense. Most of us are adult enough to look at the situation and make the right choice, I would like to think. Carry a (double) mask and wear it with kindness.

The only problem is the occasional individual or group with some kind of agenda that runs counter to the scientific community's understanding of virus communicability.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Mask mandates were lifted in a handful of American States at the beginning of March. No indication of uptick in cases as a result.

Because people still continue wearing masks even without the mandate

"Poll shows Texans continue to wear masks despite state lifting mandate"

https://www.cbs19.tv/article/news/poll-shows-texans-continue-to-wear-masks-despite-state-lifting-mandate/501-6b8747e2-4231-48fa-a9e7-ea92e5d672a8

James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, says the newest poll his team is working on shows that Texans mask usage hasn't dropped drastically since the mandate ended. "We still have about 80% of Texans, as recently as this month, reporting that they are wearing masks when they go out," Henson said.

80% - that's Republicans and Democrats and Independents

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Happy Day

Stanford University indicates masks are useless against COVID and prolonged use can cause serious health issues.

Is this the same article that did not come from Stanford University but from a single person in a Journal that publishes unproven hypothesis? Because Stanford University says the opposite.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No, you don't have to if you don’t want, it is a matter of personal choice and not a matter of what the so called 'experts' think, as long as there isn't a law forcing you or you're not in private property, do as you please.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I wanted to buy n95 mask for my Grandpa over here: https://www.seniority.in/daily-living-aids/personal-care/pollution-mask-clp who has been facing severe chronic brochitis issues lately. Just wanted to know as to which type of adult diaper would be most effective for him to breathe easily.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Isn’t it easy to understand from a logical point of view, that the masks have no decisive influence on the sum of surrounding virus loads? It’s more showing good behavior and manners, but not so much more. Let’s shortly look at two scenarios. You are infected, the other surrounding people not. Then you keep too much viruses inside you , they multiply inside and you will probably get COVID or even die. And the masks don’t filter all of what you breath out, but only a little less than usual, so the other people are also in danger over the time span. Now the opposite, All are sick, but not you with your mask. Then the high virus loads around you break that barrier easily and infect you too. I think, you understand the sketched model. The sum of all viruses is the same and is getting equally distributed, with or without masks. Personally, I wear a mask , of course. See above, good manners....lol

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Phil- yes, the hypotheses is actually published under NIH. Frankly, I’ll still believe this over Fauci any day.

But a real Stanford doctor did just reveal that masks are bad for kids.

"Believing" an hypothesis is not rational, because that is the step before proving something. the only value of an hypothesis is having something that you can examine to see if it is true or not. For that you need data.

How about a source for this Stanford doctor? it may be again that "reveal" means "guess", or that "bad" means "uncomfortable". The last article you talked about did not prove what you said, and did not came from the institution you referenced.

People also get tired from eating properly or from doing a good amount of physical exercise, that does not prove these measures are not good for their health. It only proves that some people do not care.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

But a real Stanford doctor did just reveal that masks are bad for kids.

The endless self correction of scientific knowledge points out that your source is not a real Standford doctor but someone that likes to misrepresent himself with false titles, and Standford University has instead declared to be supportive of the role of mask in limiting the spread of COVID-19

https://retractionwatch.com/2021/04/26/elsevier-journal-to-retract-widely-debunked-masks-study-whose-author-claimed-a-stanford-affiliation/

It will not be rare to find out the article to be retracted soon because of these and other problems.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Why is Dr Fauci not quoted in this article? Without his opinion (which is, after all, "the science"), it is a pretty incomplete piece.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

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