News : Do runners really need to wear a mask?


News :

Do runners really need to wear a mask?


Obviously there is a general feeling that is a mixture of anguish, nerves and ignorance and that generates a cocktail that would not be the most beneficial for doing sports outdoors. We are not clear if the use of the mask frees us from becoming infected while running, but the prospect of rattling with our mouth and nose covered makes us a mountain. There a kind of dilemma is formed between what is right for our well-being and that of others out there or what is more comfortable to be able to practice what we like the most in conditions similar to how we did it before the coronavirus landed, within which we are already installed in this so-called ‘new normality’.

Between morality and sanitary adequacy

Do we really need the use of the mask? The 'Washington City Paper', a newspaper in the American capital, tells the story of Margaret Sprock, a runner who, like so many others in the city, has been running to be able to air out of the anguish and suffocating day to day with the pandemic. It has done it respecting the restrictions and the distance. But one day he ran into a lady in a car that pulled up parallel to her at an intersection. He rolled down the window and rebuked her: "You are running without a mask, you are leaving your particles scattered and the rest of us can vacuum them. Who do you think you are? What is your name?". Margaret left without answering.

This has been the usual trend during these weeks not only in Washington, but in many cities in an infinity of countries where you could exercise outdoors individually. Fights between neighbors and ‘runners’ for the improper use or not of the sanitary material, on the fulfillment of the restrictions. Nerves on the surface and ambiguous measures in many cases with that almost indefinable strip between the obligatory and the recommended they haven't exactly helped. "I think people are having so much stress in their lives right now, whether it's because of a job loss or just fear," says Sprock. "In a way, it makes the people around them an easy target or a way to evade those feelings."

The ‘official’ recommendation

With this, the brokers are not exempt from blame, on the contrary. In some cases that lack of respect for the recommendations and exposing others to their irresponsibility exists. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommend “Use cloth face covers in public settings where other measures of social distancing are difficult to maintain (for example, supermarkets and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community transmission. ”

Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the US National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, a Bethesda-based nonprofit, does not believe runners should be required to wear masks. “The risk of transmission is through prolonged face-to-face contact with another person, less than six feet in a closed room. That's where the real risk of transmission occurs, "he says. "If you are in fleeting contact with a broker, the chances of contracting coronavirus from that broker, if they are asymptomatic, are very low … My suggestion is to interpret the general guidelines for a specific situation. In terms of exercise, one of the things I recommend is to be in a place where you can exercise that is less densely populated. Go during the hours of least activity where there are less people on the street. "

In bustling areas things change

Things can vary in a crowded city like DC or Barcelona (depending on which roads or areas), where the trails and sidewalks can be busy, especially during the hours when residents are away from work. In those scenarios, Schaffner recommends wearing a cloth face cover (not surgical masks or N95 respirators) while exercising, for health reasons and as a symbolic gesture. "I think both for symbolic reasons and for the fact that you are going around so many people, maybe it would be wise to wear some kind of mask, whether or not you are a runner. If there are a lot of people on the road and you pass them not every five minutes, but every 30 seconds, then I think you should wear masks. Even passing momentarily, you meet a lot of people, "adds the Doctor.

A very low risk running

"The amount of viruses / particles that really come out when you cough or breathe or how much you inhale, there are so many variables that it is impossible to predict," he says. "The six feet (about two meters) that were advised only in normal social distancing, you want to do at least that while you exercise, but the risk of transmitting while running to someone who is walking, that possibility is extremely low, if not zero", Ensures for his part andl Dr. Glenn Wortmann, chief of infectious diseases at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

He thinks it's okay to exercise without a mask (Wortmann rides his bike without one), but that failing to do so means that he must be vigilant to maintain adequate distance from others. "I would be polite about being around other people," says Wortmann. "What that means is that you shouldn't be running in a group and when you ride a bike you shouldn't hit the person in front of you, but leave a suitable space.


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