Studies show wearing a mask outside may not be necessary

SPOKANE, Wash.–The dark winter is behind us and summer is right around the corner.

But, when you grab those sunglasses for a walk outside, you might be able to leave that face mask at home.

“I’d say for the most part you don’t need to wear a mask outdoors,” Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. “There’s countries around the world, like Israel, that says you no longer need to do that. I think you just have to use common sense here.”

COVID-19 mostly spreads indoors, in fact, less than 10 percent of transmission happens outside.

“Looking at viral transmission and finding it’s actually 19 times less likely to happen outdoors versus indoors,” Dr. Gupta said.

Despite that science, some people still prefer to mask up outside, in hopes of keeping their neighbors safe.

“I don’t think you should risk anybody’s life,” Jasmin Allison said. “Safety is of the upmost and all together we can make it safe for everybody.”

There are different factors to the effectiveness of wearing a mask outside, especially the activity you’re doing.

“We are friends who haven’t seen each other in a long time, and are taking advantage of being able to be outside and be together but we want to protect each other,” Sue McFadden said.

If you’re outside in a crowded line or close to others, then it’s best to mask up.

The current CDC guidance tells us a mask may not be necessary when you’re outside by yourself and away from others or with people who live in your household.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said this week the agency is considering loosening that guidance, especially for vaccinated people.

“The real question you’re trying to answer, and there’s a lot of factors that go into this, what is the likelihood I’m going to breathe in someone else’s air,” Dr. Gupta said. “That’s basically it.”

The improving science on how this virus spreads is helping us get back to normal.

In the meantime, health experts are urging you to keep wearing a mask when needed and distance from others, so we can end this pandemic.