Dr. Paul E. Sax, writing for the New England Journal of Medicine’s Journal Watch:
But what about the community solidarity engendered by wearing a
mask outside in public? Isn’t this worth something? A way of
showing that I’m 100% part of Team Mask? Maybe — certainly
there’s a strong component of this messaging among the highly
adherent mask wearers here in Boston. But this performative aspect
of outdoor mask-wearing has a downside, too.
You might think you need to wear a mask while walking me in the
morning to set a good example for others, said Louie the other
day. But really you might be misleading people about how the
virus is transmitted. […]
Here’s a bold proposal — let’s make public policy based on our
best understanding of the science of SARS-CoV-2 transmission:
Dangerous — crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation, in
particular with unmasked individuals talking, shouting, singing.
Wear a well-fitted mask until case numbers are down and more
people are vaccinated.
Safe — outdoors, especially while distanced. Masks only
needed for lengthy interactions with others at close distance.