Are We Still Doing This?

I put a mask on. You’re supposed to put a mask on, so I put a mask on. This may be to protect other people. It may be to signal my willingness to do what I’m supposed to do. It may be a token gesture to maintain some sort of lowest common denominator public health standard. I am comfortable with those reasons.

But I don’t really believe you can pass Covid-19, outdoors, from more than six feet away.

I’m not an epidemiologist. I don’t know anything that you don’t. I’m not so clever, that I’m refusing to wear a mask. But I have yet to read any information that suggests socially-distanced outdoor activity, even vigorous activity, can lead to transmission of the virus. Quite the opposite. The studies I see, albeit not comprehensive or definitive, suggest we’re safe out there.

For many months I did what I was supposed to do. There is no reason to stir the pot during a public health crisis, no benefit (other than better breathing). I was/am more than willing to be a little uncomfortable for the common good.

I wonder though, on some level, if we are perpetuating the disconnection between science and behavior by continuing to do something that makes no actual difference. If we’re just erring on the side of caution, I’d feel better about it if that was our common conception, that we knew we were doing it.

Now, when I walk the dog, I take a mask. When I come within 30 feet of someone I wait to see what they’re move is first. If they pull up the mask, I pull up the mask. If they don’t, I don’t. It feels like a reasonable compromise to make. I will meet you wherever you are. That’s ok, right?

Maybe I’ve just got the same pandemic fatigue everyone else has. I’m tired of mask-life. That’s not a good reason to abandon it. Certainly, I’m not volunteering to share any indoor spaces with my fellow humans without a mask, and probably two of them.

I just wonder if, outdoors, we’re still really doing this?