It has been normalized for most citizens to wear masks when going outside. Whether you are going to the supermarket or a walk after dinner, you see masks, securely placed over each face. But, recognizing that temperatures are rising these days in Los Angeles, will masks remain a must even in the sweltering heat of summer?
Recently, the habit of quarantining has caused many citizens to exercise, considering their relatively empty schedules. This means going outside for many, especially for those who don’t have access to exercising equipment at home. And, going outside is linked to one thing: masks. Even wearing masks when it is not hot is difficult, as our humid breaths moisten the inside of these coverings, inducing an uncomfortable, soggy feeling. So how are we supposed to endure this during the summer months? In fact, do we even have to wear masks when we are exercising outside?
This question may seem absurd; masks are of course, a definite must when going outside. Because it is still unknown how easily the virus can spread through the air, scientists can only estimate that the 6-feet distancing guideline is adequate enough to keep our breath droplets from putting others at risk. Additionally, the World Health Organization stated that the virus doesn’t linger or travel more than 3 feet. But this claim has also been questioned by a medical expert who claimed that there was no definite restriction on the travelling distance of the virus. This adds to the uneasiness that citizens feel, since there is so much that experts are unsure of.
The Coronavirus is still very novel to scientists, however, one thing is certain: exercising in extreme heat is not good for one’s health. Thus, on April 23, LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer claimed that as long as one maintains an acceptable distance from others, there is no need to cover one’s face outside, especially considering the rising heat. She continued, “It’s harder to breathe in the heat. So we do recommend that if you’re going to be working out and it’s hot, you’re better off not having a [mask] covering … your mouth and your nose.” But then, how do we minimize risks, especially if we run into other people? Ferrer answered this by recommending citizens carry a mask with them and putting them on if or when they pass others.
Although Ferrer’s recommendation and advice are very useful to many Angelenos, one should be aware that some cities have made it strictly forbidden to be outside without masks. This can mean that some people, such those that live in Beverly Hills and Glendale, must wear masks whenever they leave their homes, even if it is for a quick walk.
Many citizens have now turned to exercise to help maintain a balance for their health, but it is always wise to be aware of certain guidelines of your city and listen to experts’ advice before deciding to exercise outside without the protection of a mask.
Sabrina Mo, Grade 9
North Hollywood HGM High School