So, we’re all confused. It is, in fact, pretty easy to think that experts have been lying to us, because we’re not used to watching science actually happen in the messy way it happens.
And things are going to change again. Many of us are also feeling as if we have no control or agency. So I figured I would put together a roundup of how not to catch COVID-19 as we know it right now (July 14, 2020).
Masks and Face Shields
I know. Everyone is harping on face coverings. As time goes on, though, we see more and more evidence that face masks slow transmission.
Everyone who can wear a mask, should. If you can’t wear a mask, try a face shield, which are also demonstrated to be effective (if you’re one of those poor souls stuck working in a grocery store and can afford it, consider wearing both).
Different types of masks may work for you. Anything is better than nothing. N95 masks are the best, but are hard to get and should be reserved for people with higher risk of exposure. Please don’t use the valved masks (or cover the valve). Those are designed to protect you from allergens and do nothing to prevent onward transmission if you are infected and don’t know it.
A multi-layer, reusable cloth face mask works well. It should be washed every time it is worn. If you’re going to be out for a while, take two masks.
You should wear a mask any time you might interact or bump into people who are not in your household. Including outdoors. Outdoor transmission risk is lower, but it is not non-existent. Please wear masks on crowded sidewalks.
You should not wear a mask while swimming or playing in water, as wet masks can interfere with breathing. If you are engaged in heavy exercise and can stay away from others, you don’t need to wear a mask, or can wear a lighter mask. Overheating won’t help you.
Never share a mask, even if it’s reusable and you washed it. You wouldn’t share your underwear, right?