Should runners wear masks?

Jane Rosen started screaming around April. By May, it had become a chore. Incidents usually occur near her minivan, which she parks next to Central Park in New York.

When she tries to get in or out of a car, a cyclist or runner rides so close that she can smell them. "I shout:" Where is your mask? ”Said 73-year-old Ms. Rosen.


Her daughter warned her that these clashes could end badly. But it's worth it, she said, because life is at stake. She had about 18 such confrontations. According to her, this figure will be higher if it comes out more often.

Melissa Mayen, a high school student in Washington, DC, also avoided going outside. Then, in mid-May, she went on a trip for the first time in almost a month.


She was amazed when a man, walking along the street, shouted something about a mask. “I almost fell off my bike,” she said. She owns one mask that her father brought from the construction site where he works. Besides being so fat that she can barely breathe, she is trying to keep her for high-risk situations. “If you scream for someone to wear a mask, then give them a mask,” she said.

And it seems that only a few activities have caused more controversy than exercise: pedestrians, cyclists, runners, skaters – everyone seems to have conflicting interpretations of science and etiquette about how to behave on the street.


New York explicitly states that face coatings are not required when walking, running or cycling if you can keep your distance. Similarly san francisco encouraged runners wear a mask and wear it when they are near other people.


From mid-May in Los Angeles, residents had to cover their faces when leaving the house. But masks are not required while running and cycling, while the distance remains – although they should be carried, the district and the city were later found out.

In Boston, an increased heart rate is no excuse for not blocking your nose and mouth. “You need to wear a protective face when you play sports,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in April.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing Cloth coverings in public places, “where it is difficult to maintain other measures of social distance”, but do not give specific instructions on the exercises.


It can be very difficult to run in a mask.

Many runners are repelled by how difficult it is to inhale when their heart rate rises. It can be a lot harder than going in a mask.

“It's harder to breathe, and it's a lot tackier,” said Gaston Lee, store manager at the Running Room in Honolulu.

Others abstain from this because, although the virus is spreading, masks are not widespread in their communities.

"Oh hell no!" said Larry Holt, owner of the Ken Combs Running Store in Louisville, Kentucky, when asked if runners wore masks. “This is the craziest thing I've ever heard of in my life.”

(In Kentucky, Governor Andy Bishar asked residents on May 11 to begin wearing masks publicly. Like officials in other places, he made an exception for people exercising alone.)

According to Brian Wu, the founder of the running group, even in Hong Kong, a city so dedicated to publicly covering its face that it is widely called a model, few people expect runners to wear masks. “I believe that they just realized that running is not the time to wear masks,” he said.

There is no scientific consensus on the importance of wearing a mask during training, primarily because so few relevant studies have been conducted.

Researchers agree that masks slow down the spread of the virus. They also agree that it is better to avoid exercise within six feet of anyone outside your immediate home, and that training is less risky. outside than inside.

Donald Milton, a professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, who has studied the ability of masks to block respiratory droplets, suggests that their value depends on location. “The outdoors is relatively safe, and masks will only be important if you train in crowded places or in a room where people share with each other,” he said.

Most likely, this will happen when you stop talking to them, said Julian Tang, a virologist and professor at Leicester University in England. He believes that the risk of someone quickly becoming infected is insignificant, because "a huge amount of air will dilute any exhaled virus, and the wind can blow it away."

In April, a scientific project study of Belgian and Dutch engineers have indicated that runners, tramps and cyclists create an air stream behind them that can carry exhaled breath drops much further than six feet began to circulate in the network. Widespread Average post For research, it is recommended that you keep a distance of 32 feet when running or slow cycling and at least 65 feet (four car lengths) when fast cycling.

For several days, each social media platform seemed like one and the same horrific graphics: two people, one of whom spewed a multi-colored cloud – many interpreted it as a coronavirus – to the person behind it.

Study authors coming soon published In the following, we note that their study was just an engineering model of the wind flow, which found that when we walk or run, the air moves around us differently than when we are still. Although they told people not to draw conclusions from their research on how the virus infects people, it taken on your own life.

One useful conclusion, both the authors of the study and several researchers who did not participate in it, said: "It is better to avoid running or cycling right behind someone for a long period of time."

Another sweat is disgusting. But it’s not from bodily fluids that C.D.C. warns, transmits coronavirus.

Spitting is not only disgusting, but also dangerous, because saliva may contain viral droplets. Runners, cyclists, skaters, pedestrians – do not do this! (Or at least not around others.)

Avoid popular routes and times, suggests Douglas Nicaragua, owner of Go Run in Miami. He advises taking a mask, even if you do not expect someone to cross your path. If you see someone, put it on.

“Over time, you will get used to it,” says Joey Ta, a Los Angeles endurance athlete who recently began wearing a mask.

People exercising used several types of masks, some with flaws. A surgical mask can easily become wet and sweat-heavy; so can fabric. A bandana tied around the head can slip more easily when running. Some may even consider a face shield.

Others used a mask or Polisha tube of tissue that extends from the clavicle to the nose crest. This is what Colin Klein, owner Fleet Legs in Burbank, California, recommends.

And whether you wear a mask or not, pay attention to the position of the people around you. Dr. Benjamin D. Levine, a professor of internal medicine at UT Southwest Medical Center and Presbyterian Dallas, Texas, is advising the US Athletics team on safe training. He calls for focusing on what he calls the four Ds: “double the distance” from six to 12 feet and “don't pull,” which means “don't run or ride a bike right behind someone, so you constantly come across and breathe with expired. " air. "

No. The idea that wearing a mask mimics high-altitude conditions is a myth, said Dr. Levine.

“I don’t understand how people cannot understand that this is more than a mask,” said Ms. Rosen, a New York woman who screamed at the runners.

She said that her confrontation was caused by a sense of duty to protect not only herself, but also her neighbors.

But screams – which can also expel more viral drops than speaking – can behavior change? Perhaps, said Alexandra Bruis, a professor at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University and author book about stigma and global healthBut she found that most people are much more likely to receive advice from friends and family than from a stranger, and take into account feedback accompanied by empathy rather than shame.

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