I’ve hesitated to post anymore info about covid-19, but I just got back from the grocery store, and saw the debate about masks on someone’s timeline. That made me research, and I’m sharing what I’ve found so far. It’s helpful, but like most everything centered around the pandemic, more testing and studies are needed to say for sure.
So what’s the answer? Should you wear a mask when you’re outside at all, or just when you’re around people?
This article in The Atlantic helps pull back the veil.
“Even if coronavirus particles can move through the air, they would still diffuse over distance. “People envision these clouds of viruses roaming through the streets coming after them, but the risk of [infection] is higher if you’re closer to the source,” says Linsey Marr, who studies airborne disease transmission at Virginia Tech. “The outside is great as long as you’re not in a crowded park.”
“In February, scientists in Wuhan, China—where the coronavirus outbreak originated—sampled the air in various public areas, and showed that the virus was either undetectable or found in extremely low concentrations. The only exceptions were two crowded sites, one in front of a department store and another next to a hospital. Even then, each cubic meter of air contained fewer than a dozen virus particles. (No one knows the infectious dose of SARS-CoV-2—that is, the number of particles needed to start an infection—but for the original SARS virus of 2003, one study provided estimates many times higher than the levels detected in the Wuhan spaces.)*
“These particles might not even have been infectious. “I think we’ll find that like many other viruses, [SARS-CoV-2] isn’t especially stable under outdoor conditions like sunlight or warm temperatures,” Santarpia said. “Don’t congregate in groups outside, but going for a walk, or sitting on your porch on a sunny day, are still great ideas.”