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April 29, 2020


We don't want this blog to get too coronavirus-y, but: We have a question about mask-wearing.

Here in our neighborhood, when we go outside, as we do at least twice a day to walk Lucy, we do not wear masks. Neither does Lucy, and neither do most of the people we encounter. We often stop and talk to neighbors, always maintaining the prescribed social distance; when people are coming the other way, we step to the side, or even off the sidewalk, to make room. We cross the street if necessary to maintain distance. But, again, we don't wear masks for these outdoor walks. Are we supposed to? If so, why?

We ask because we sometimes see people outdoors who are wearing masks. Usually these people are walking alone, or riding bikes alone. And every now and then we see somebody on social media declaring that EVERYBODY SHOULD WEAR A MASK AT ALL TIMES, even when taking neighborhood walks. Is there a sound basis for that view?

We're just asking. We really don't want to start an argument. We are very, very tired of coronavirus arguments. We welcome your calm and rational comments. They don't have to be about masks. They can also be about rutabagas.

Clarification: We get that the masks are to protect others, not ourselves. We understand why we need to wear them in the supermarket. We're asking about being outdoors and not near others.


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I am sure we can make masks out of rutabagas.

Weirdos who are glad that the world is ending (it's not) celebrate by making others feel guilty for being mask-less. It's how they 'enjoy' themselves. In some cases
they are too old and scarred to keep cutting their inner thighs with razor blades so they can feel something, anything. I don't find any humor in this and I worry that this way of thinking will become normal.

If you have a mask, why not wear it. The virus can be air born and live for hours. Now I'll read the rest of the original post.

It would be cool if Lucy wore a Dave mask and Dave wore a Lucy mask.

I will attempt to be as factual as possible, the scotch might take over though.

Masks lower the probability that the wearer's mouth droplets will make it into someone else's mouth. They do not do much to protect the wearer as the wearer will eventually suck the mouth droplets of a stranger through their mask. The probability of your mouth droplets making it into someone else's mouth outside, separated by 6 feet, and that those droplets did not get sanitized by the UV light are very very very very very small. Putting on a mask will lower that probability from nearly zero to zero.

I have similar questions in Michigan. 95% out for walks don't wear masks, but a few do. One lady had them on her children.

Honestly, I thought it was sad. This is a neighborhood where it's easy to keep a distance.

Masks - at least our inferior, plebeian variety of masks as opposed to those of a surgeon or astronaut - are not so much for the wearer's protection. They remind us not to touch our faces with our hands, but not much more than that. Rather, if we are lurching through our neighborhoods and grocery stores in a disease infested state, they help to protect others from us whenever we sneeze, cough, and engage in other traditional acts of expectoration. They are supposed to capture much of our airborn sputum.

I think the idea is to wear a mask, and frequently cough and sneeze into it to assure others around you that it's working.

Here in Geezer Half Acres the Management sent out notices:...
"Your apartment is your home and this does not incorporate common area spaces in the building such as lobbies, building entryways and common ara patios. You may leave your apartment to get necessities such as food and medicine or to seek medical attention. Gathering or loitering in ANY INTERIOR or EXTERIOR common area of your building is strictly prohibited..."

I am about to be WAY off topic. I want to share a sentence from an actual work-at-home memo. I kind of want to explain the context, but I think too much explanation detracts from the perfect gem of a sentence that it is. I will only say that within said context, it actually makes sense; it was part of an actual set of instructions that, yes, I followed. Here it is:

We are building bridges for fairy tail billy goats instead of saving snails.

To stay somewhat on topic, neither goats nor snails wear masks.

Love bug protection, Dave.

Here in Roswell, New Mexico, when we venture out of Geezer Acres most of us wear tinfoil hats and garlands of garlic. This keeps people far enough away that we really don't need to wear masks.

We do have to tell some folks heading out to remember not to touch certain areas of their bodies.

Here in Massachusetts there is a clear difference between the cities --- which require mask wearing as it is hard to maintain even 6 ft. distance walking around --- and the suburbs --- where I can easily maintain a 30 ft. buffer.

It all depends on the amount of space.

Well, to delve further on the subject as related to our lives.

Besides masks, latex gloves, disposable lab coats, rearrangement of treatment rooms to house no instruments, equipment, etc. other than what is needed for each individual and no touch thermometers to be used on EVERYONE entering the work area, we are busy, amongst other things, having one of the assistants type up in Spanish a supplemental Health Questionnaire to be completed before being seen. In addition, each patient will be called a day ahead of time and asked that only the patient come inside the office, family and friends please wait in the car.

Required of each patient (supplemental questionnaire):

If you have been exposed to a communicable disease, you may spread the disease...therefore, prior to each appointment, we will be asking then following questions to reduce the chances of transmission:

Do you, your child, others accompanying you to today's appointment or anyone you have recently been in contact with have any of the following symptoms:

Fever (defined as above 99.6 degrees)?
Shortness of breath and/or trouble breathing?
Persistent Pain, pressure, or tightness in the chest?
Body ache, muscle ache?
Sore throat?
Have you, your child, others accompanying you to today's appointment or anyone you have recently been in contact with tested positive for or been diagnosed with COVID-19 or recently been in contact with tested positive for been diagnosed as having COVID-9 or recently or any other communicable disease?

*****So there is a location/office we see patients at two days a month. That location is located near a prison where 200 plus inmates have come down with Civid-19 in recent weeks.. Because the location is ‘nearby’ - close enough ll right, we are questioning the opening of that office right away.

As far as our own offices, we will be taking every precaution possible to insure the welfare of everyone, including staff, patient and anyone who enters into our establishments. It is quite a task to say the least.

If you have specific questions about COVID-19, I can possibly supply professional answers as my wife and I prepare for this 'reopening'. As if you don't hear already hear enough professional advise.

Oh I see Dave, re: your clarification. In that case:

Theirs not to doubt or ask,
Theirs not to take to task,
Theirs but to wear the mask.
Into the clogger of breath
Blowed the sick numberéd.

(Is this not the poetry thread? oops!)

Applauds Andy V.

Dave, I do not see the sense of wearing a mask while out walking in an area (my neighborhood street) where I will not be meeting or passing anyone. Or where I am able to maintain a safe distance from others. Sometimes one has to do things to make others comfortable, like at the grocery store.

What would happen if you taped a spatula to Lucy's collar?

If you're staying at least six feet away from others and are outside you don't need to wear a mask. I'd also like to mention if you are wearing a mask make sure it also covers your nose. I've seen so many people with the mask over their mouth but not over their nose and it drives me crazy! You should also make sure the mask fits snuggly on the sides for full protection. This is strictly my opinion after being a nurse for 30 years and I'm proud to say I never caught anything from a patient except for the occasional load of cr@p.

Short answer: It's highly more likely that occasionally you'll be closer than six feet to someone else in a store or other enclosed space (especially when said someone else is too engrossed in his/her phone to notice the one-way aisle markings) than outdoors where there usually is a lot more room to veer away from others. Then add to this the oversimplified "one size fits all" theory of problem resolution.

Now that that's out of the way -- is it still the song thread?

Does anybody really know what day it is?
Does anybody really care?
If so I can't imagine why
We've all got days enough to cry.

I don't wear a mask while outdoors, but have found it useful to wear one inside the house. It helps prevent boredom snacking.

If you consider this, then realize this and can say with good reason, "Now I understand."

Here's what's funny. Although I know the mask does NOTHING to prevent transmission of Covid, I will still wear it because they say so. You can argue about freedom, fine, whatever. You don't want to play along and wear a mask? Then stay the f home. But when you're ready to be a big girl, put your mask on and come outside, then be that.

Keep your comments to yourself. Worry about you, not me. Mind your own effing business. I am shocked this needs to be said.

I live in Central Lower Michigan. The case count in our county is... 8. Metro Detroit is in the tens of thousands. Walking in Metro Detroit? Yup! I would simply because. Dave you live in Miami, I'd be apt to pass out wearing one in 80+ degree heat.

Up here, some folks wear masks AND take their clothes off at the door and shower after running errands, some wear no protection at all when out and about. When I help pack meals for the students in our district I wear one as you cannot ensure 6' space, but when I walk around town as I often do, I do not wear one. All depends on comfort level.

Sure wish I could get an antibody test. Love to know if I am an asymptomatic Corona Carrier. Handy info to have when working around kids...right? Our district took a 4 day weekend in early Feb due to illness, some tested positive for Flu, many came back inconclusive...HUH!

If you're out of doors and not in a crowd, I don't think there's much reason to wear a mask.
At the store, or where people are congregating, sure.

Geoff - "some folks wear masks AND take their clothes off at the door and shower after running errands"

I do this every time I return home from ANYWHERE in public.

I also am widely considered a chick magnet.

To mask or not to mask, that is the question
whether 'tis nobler in stores not to suffer
the arrow stares of outraged customers
or stay your course through a sea of troubles
Our conscious does not allow us
to make cowards of us all

---Claude Shakespeare

New social distancing guidelines considerably loosen up the six foot number and 'get real' as shown in this WHO educational reminder.

man tom- "all depends on comfort level"
- I am in awe you are "widely considered a chick magnet"

I, on the other, hand am considered a wide magnet that repels chicks, but what does my wife know?

I see my neighbors walking, riding bicycles, etc and for the most part they are not wearing a mask.

I have not taken a poll but I imagine that one camp, older, firmly thinks - gotta go some time. The other camp, younger thinks - I'm not gonna get sick, if I get sick I will recover and be fine. (Sees the older, non mask wearers and thinks - We'll miss you when you are gone. We will be sure to come to the estate sale.)

And how about the people driving cars, by themselves, wearing masks?

This has been a running debate on the godawful Nextdoor app where I live. I have lived with asthma for a long time, and when i go to a public place such as a supermarket or pharmacy, I wear my mask. I would like to think that others would do the same thing, yet I see people showing up in masks for curbside pickup where they never leave the car, and people walking into the store without masks.

We take walks with our pit bull daily. He doesn’t wear a mask and neither do we. We maintain social distancing when walking in the neighborhood and will cross to the other side of the street if we encounter folks walking down our side of the street. That has revived the argument (again on Nextdoor) on which side of the street pedestrians are supposed to be walking on (against or with traffic). I’ve seen a few people out walking wearing masks, but the majority do not. After all, this is Texas where we’re apparently free to do whatever we want

If there is a Local, State or Federal website processing claims of any nature related to CV which is not 'crashed' until further notice, you have my most extreme respect, sir.

@qaz and le pet, kudos. I wear masks in stores but not walking/hiking outside. ...but I do like the idea of making masks from rutabagas, or wearing tinfoil hats and garlic...wonderful

I'd like to give a shout out to The Gerber Knife Co. and also highly recommend their line of knifes should you need a knife. I recently submitted a picture of my broken keychain Gerber knife under the company's Lifetime warranty. Today they shipped my free replacement.

I received this email a few days ago.

Currently our warranty team is a little backed up due to Covid 19. Rest assured, we are working hard to process your claim as quickly as possible.

I hope they wore masks when filling my order.

If all American companies worked with customers like this, what a wonderful world it would be.

When we walk in the national forest next to our house, we don't wear masks. If we run into other folks, we step off the trail and keep our distance. Right now between 1,000 and 3,000 people a day are dying from this in the US. I hope we're not getting used to it. Our nephew is an ICU doc working with this every day, and our niece is a nurse who works with the elderly. Both have small kids. If we are anywhere with people, we wear a mask. For them, not so much for us.

If I have the virud wear no mask, there is a 95% chance of spreading it to you. If I wear a mask, the chances drop to 5%. If we both wear masks, it is 1.5%%
That said, on neighborhood walks we do not wear a mask but we do keep as much distance as possible.

Seen on Imgur:

All of our dogs think we quit our jobs to spend more time with them.

All of our cats think we got fired for being the losers they always knew we were.

In general, you do not need masks outdoors if you can maintain social distancing. However, viral aerosols can travel more than 6 feet, especially if it is windy. 6 feet is not a magic barrier that virus particles can't cross; it is just a useful distance for most situations at which most aerosols have dropped to the ground. YMMV. For example, someone riding a bicycle or running can be leaving a long trail of viral aerosols behind them, compared to someone standing still.

The big problem is that >50% of people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic but still infectious. For them, thermometers and questionnaires tell you nothing. And when we get accurate antibody tests, they won't tell us who has recovered and who is infected but asymptomatic. Until we get a vaccine, you're playing Russian Roulette with ±100 nanometer bullets flying around. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Is it possible to make a mask out of a rutabaga?

We do not wear masks unless we are going to be somewhere where we cannot maintain the proper "safe distance" -- and since I routinely would cross the street to avoid people before, there's no difference now.

I especially like to see the people driving, alone in their cars, wearing masks. And yes, I too know of people who take off and "disinfect" their clothing after each trip out.

Sorry to correct Jimbo, but there is no way to reduce the probability to zero. A virus particle can be exhaled by someone in Sweden, catch a freak updraft, and come down into your nose as you inhale in Texas. This does not give cover for goobers who think it's fine to go back to business as usual just yet...

On a completely different subject, did you see the story about the records they uncovered that fairly strongly imply that a person was killed by a falling meteor? (The story called it a meteorite, which it wouldn't be until it hit the ground.)

My wife has been spending lots of time making masks, caps,etc. if people don’t wear them, what’s the point?

I've long worn a bag over my head in public, though that's another story...

No mask, though.

Nazi's come in many forms and shades. You will notice that, addition to many other subjects including the length of your front lawn; there are "Virus Nazi's" "Open or not open your state or city Nazi's" and "Mask Nazi's". It is, in the vernacular of current psychological medicine, a "control issue" Some want to control, some want to be free of control, many want both sides to simply "shut up". There is undoubtedly a new Nazi group forming at this moment called the "we told you it was a bad idea" poised to pile on the Governor of any state that decides to allow people to move back toward normalcy. Another group; the "we hope you die for your opinion" Nazi's are busily scribbling letters to Facebook, Twittering, and preparing absentee ballots for the next election even as you read this comment.

I ought to walk the block a few times to clear my head

For lawn work, I wasn’t wearing a mask. I will be now that a stock is available

One computer model has my C-19 survival in general as 98% (long story), which I take as reasonable as a risk. It’s the high risk to my wife who is in poor health and my son’s girlfriend’s father who is in much poorer health.

Some things I can’t control. If I can to something to not be the one who passes the virus, I have to do it. Especially since Bob died after careless exposure.

I’m in the exurbs of Chicago, so others’ risk may vary

Thank you for your dedication and service to others nursecindy :)

Blessings to everyone.

Was golfing today with 3 friends, no masks. Kept distance which is easy considering we cover a lot of real estate with our shots. Cups are raised out of the ground so is you hit the cup, you made the hole. In stores around here masks are required and I wear them. Outside no. The open the golf courses Friday as long as guidelines are followed. Such as one person to a cart and cleaned between uses. Masks work on tear gas. I know this from training. Porous masks may only protect others but consideration of other and a desire to not overload the health care system gives me motivation.

On that mask thing, I find I get about the same amount of candy whether I wear a mask or I don't. The fact that I look like Jack Palance on the outside of a quart of Lemon Hart 151 might play into this. My sidekick Monkey Frank does OK with any vintage Ben Cooper mask and a carpet knife. You will not get dick-squat with one of those rubber Nixon masks. Here we come, Ring ninnies...

Until a few days ago the only mask I had was a ski mask. If I wore it in my neighbourhood I'd have so many 9 mm holes in me I'd be able to stand in a tornado. When my paper thin masks finally arrived from the company named for a large river to the South arrived I was as happy as a mule eating briars. Now I can go out in public without being chastised as being Typhoid Mary. At least I'm stimulating the economy by buying masks.

If we live in a country where dogs must wear masks freedom clearly is dead.

Out where I live, the government had plenty of time to see the virus coming, but didn't bother to stock up on essentials, so when it hit they didn't have enough masks to distribute. So the authorities went on TV to assure us that masks were useless and unnecessary.
Now that they've finally got enough, they've changed their tune, and have made mask wearing compulsory. You can see from this how reliable our "experts" are.
I think mast wearing is a sensible precaution. There are reports that they've found the virus on particles of air pollution and in particles of respiratory mist (not just big globules) that stay in the air.

I'm coming out with a line of face masks with a hole in them for the smokers...


I'm in Massachusetts. I wear a mask anytime I go into a store (which is once a week, if that.) I don't wear a mask when I go out for walks. The other walkers I meet don't usually, either. We will walk in the middle of the street to avoid passing each other on the sidewalks.

However, if I were in a place with more people, I would probably wear a mask walking, also.


No you really don't have to wear a mask when going for a walk unless you will be in a close encounter with others. I wouldn't worry about that at all. They do say that there are some virus particles on air pollution but nothing can be assumed at this point in time that you would get the virus from that. I think that when it rains it cleans the air.

As an actual real-life scientist, my answer is no, you don't need to wear a mask outdoors for a walk. Personally I try to double the 6 feet for passing people (crossing to the other side is good). There is a bit of "aerosol breath trail" lingering for people, so I try to avoid cutting right back into their "slipstream" as I walk. Stopping to chat with neighbors, if I can stay 10 feet away without shouting, I do it.

Lucy, however, should wear a mask.

I think masks are mandatory, but pants are optional...

I get that this is Miami and not New York, but yes, Dave, wear a mask, please.

Whatever turns you on, baby.

So the article below depicts covid cough droplets on an airplane and their dispersion.


In SW Florida a year ago, beach goers experienced respiratory distress from Red Tide and toxic green algae that was aerosolized by the wind over the water and blown ashore.

I am reticent about frequenting recently opened beaches in the area or other congested public spaces as asymptomatic covid carriers could be shedding airborne droplets that get dispersed by breezes. Maintaining 6-feet of distance may work in a static indoor environment but all bets are off outdoors. I wear a mask whenever I run errands where I am likely to encounter others. I skip the mask when walking in my rural neighborhood. If I cross paths with others, I will step off the sidewalk and walk in the street leaving plenty of distance.

This is the new normal until a vaccination is developed and available or the virus otherwise is eradicated or vanishes. The masks are becoming a new fashion accessory and I'm waiting for masks that match men's ties in the workplace.

Can coronavirus be spread by ventilation systems in buildings like Legionnaires' Disease?


This may account for why New York has been hit hard with people stacked like cordwood, working and living in large buildings with shared, interconnected ventilation systems. Also a large population of people with underlying health comorbidities that put them at greater risk of contracting covid-19.

do you want to risk infecting some sweet old person on on the presmise that there is NEVER a misbehvaign dog or loose lease? Personally I dont want your suddenly lunging animal.yes i know she's old but so am i and i;ve been known to bolt after a squirrel or two even today...and then you lunge.as best as your aged bones allow and BREATH ALL OVER ME. No thanks.

Mask info


In Shanghai I saw a store that sold high fashion face masks for fairly fancy prices! Silk was preferred material because of its fine fiber and close texture. There's an opening for an entrepreneur in North America!

Face masks are only useful if the person wearing them has the virus. They will not protect you if you are wearing one. And since many are now home made from t-shirts, they won't help you at all.

Lowering the Bar (humorous legal blog) pointed out that is illegal to wear a mask in public in some of these places where it is also illegal not to.

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