Tags: Coronavirus | Coronavirus Special | Polls | face masks

New Rules: Why You May Have to Wear Face Masks Outdoors

A family walks along the market street with their two children wearing facemasks as a preventive measure.
A family walks along a market street with their two children wearing facemasks. People wear a variety of facemasks outdoors in Cambridge, although they are only mandatory on public transport and inside shops and public spaces at the moment in the UK.  (Sipa via AP Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 04 August 2020 10:41 AM

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues around the world, many countries are looking for ways to contain the potentially deadly spread. For many, the answer is enforcing stricter mask rules. Greece, Madrid and Hong Kong, for example, have made masks mandatory in all public places — even outdoors.

According to CNN, while scientists have said it’s less likely the virus is transmitted outdoors, it’s still a possibility, especially in a high-traffic area.

“We have very little evidence of outdoor transmission. It’s not zero — there are definitely cases reported — but it’s much, much lower than inside,” Gretchen Snoeyenbos Newman, an infectious disease physician at the University of Washington, told The Washington Post.

Health officials haven’t always been clear on when and where to wear face masks, so to simplify the message, many governments have decided to make a blanket ruling.

“There’s been a lot of confusion about where people should wear masks, and where there’s confusion, people just disengage and don’t wear them,” Melinda Mills, a professor of sociology at the University of Oxford, told CNN.

Researchers report that countries that mandated the use of masks in public have already seen a decline in daily growth rate of COVID-19 cases. Experts are now asking all nations to follow suit to help curb the spread of the disease.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 44% of Americans say they “always” wear a mask outside their homes, and 28% say they do so “very often.” Women, Democrats and Northeasterners are most likely to always use a mask in public, according to the poll.

Mills pointed out the success of Asian countries to contain the virus by encouraging citizens to wear masks early in the pandemic.

“Thank about Japan: they were really effective and clear, they had the three Cs,” she told CNN, referring to the wearing of masks in closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact setting. The expert noted that Japan had around 1,000 deaths due to the virus in a population of 126 million.

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues around the world, many countries are looking for ways to contain the potentially deadly spread. For many, the answer is enforcing stricter mask rules.
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2020-41-04
Tuesday, 04 August 2020 10:41 AM
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