December 8, 2021

Should California bring back the outdoor mask mandate? Some doctors say yes

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Oregon is mandating masks outside beginning Friday after an increase in Delta-fueled infections and hospitalizations. Will California do the identical?

The California Dept. of Public Well being informed ABC7 Information masking outside is presently beneficial in high-risk settings when in packed crowds or concert events.

No announcement indicating a possible outdoor mask mandate in California has been made public — However some doctors argue sporting masks outside must be mandated in sure conditions, not simply beneficial.

“I think in the setting of the Delta variant, an outdoor mask mandate is appropriate at this time,” Dr. Mike Wasserman, who served on California’s vaccine advisory committee. “Just because your outdoors doesn’t mean that if you’re standing close to someone that got the virus that you’re not at risk.”

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Stanford Infectious Illness Doctor Dr. Anne Liu agrees mandating masks outside in crowded settings is vital as we face highly-contagious variants like Delta.

“Respiratory droplets with the virus could potentially carry a lot more virus floating out in the air than what was happening last year when people were together outdoors,” mentioned Liu. “Until we have more data, I think it’s easy enough when you’re in a crowded outdoor situation to wear a mask.”

Specialists frightened about the threat of heightened transmission following the Black Lives Matter protests that concerned massive unmasked crowds, however a number of research decided the rallies did not contribute to COVID-19 surges. Whether or not that can be the case in the age of Delta?

“We don’t know,” mentioned Liu. “With Delta we don’t know that to be true under the same circumstances.”

UCSF Infectious Illness Doctor, Dr. Monica Gandhi shares a extra optimistic perspective.

“Do you think we may need an outdoor mask mandate again?” Sierra requested.

“No, I don’t think we do. Indoor masking is very prudent right now, but outside is as safe as it gets,” mentioned Gandhi.

Gandhi says there was a research carried out final September out of Wuhan, China that checked out 7,324 infections and located just one case transmitted outside.

“Do you think it’s possible any of this research would be different in the age of Delta?” mentioned Sierra.

“We’ve had almost six months with Delta and there hasn’t been a study that shows there’s an increased link of outdoor transmission,” mentioned Gandhi.

In Oregon, well being officers have mentioned outbreaks have been tied to massive outdoor occasions like music festivals. Would Big’s video games carry the same threat?

“Depends on your behavior,” mentioned UCSF Infectious Illness Doctor, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong. “If you’re next to someone and you’re shouting at them, coughing on them right next to you. Of course they’re going to be exposed.”

Dr. Chin-Hong added it is all about assessing your threat.

“Going to a Giants game packed together might be different from listening to Stevie Nicks at BottleRock if you’re in a big field and you’re not jumping up and down in a mosh pit,” he mentioned.

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