More on Eliminating Outdoor Mask Mandates

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.

Monday, 19 April 2021