If the number of coronavirus cases in California is growing – the state has recently recorded about 5,600 coronavirus cases a day – should you hide when there are no people around you?
Is it possible to walk everywhere without a mask?
How best to protect yourself?
Epidemiologist Brandon Brown of the University of California, Riverside Medical School shares his thoughts on wearing masks and when, if at all, we can be without masks.
Brown is an associate professor in the Department of Social Medicine, Population and Public Health.
How protected am I when I wear a mask and others around me don’t?
If others do not wear a mask, a well-fitting mask will provide you with real protection against infection, but the amount of protection depends on whether you are indoors or outdoors, the size of the meeting you can be at, and whether people around you have symptoms COVID.
One important word to remember is consistency when it comes to wearing a mask, as a mask only helps you when you use it and do it right.
Are there in certain places, such as offices with poor ventilation, or in places like crowded concerts where you encourage people to always dress up?
Masks slow the spread of COVID. Yes, I recommend camouflage indoors when close to others, including in the office. Disguise is important at concerts and in large crowds.
I still recommend wearing a mask at any time if you can while being around other people outside of your family. Masks prevent more than COVID, and the next burst of COVID may be just around the corner.
When drinks and snacks are served on the flights, almost everyone is unmasked. In restaurants, people often disguise (or demand) when they approach their tables, but then immediately unmask when sitting. How safe is such behavior in relation to COVID?
Wearing a mask is safer than not wearing it, and everyone feels at risk.
With high-transmission options, limited space on public transportation and restaurants makes you sit next to others, making transmission more likely, especially if you’re taking off your mask.
But the presence of mask rules in these settings, even if you shoot it to eat / drink, is a good reminder that COVID still exists.
What do you think if we are safe enough to be without masks?
I think everyone needs to determine their personal level of safety and risk, and what that means, but the pandemic is not over, infections continue, and current outbreaks in other parts of the world indicate a high probability of another outbreak in the United States.
Written by Iqbal Pitalvala.
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