Observations on Mask Use

Photo by Vincent.

The science is clear: universal mask use is one of the most important tools in our fight against coronavirus. But how well are people abiding with that in Georgetown?

GM has several observations:

Over the last month, mask use has increased in outdoor settings. It seems most people have come around to adopting the practice, perhaps even if they question its efficacy. On quieter side streets, people can be seen walking without them, but they are less necessary there. On Wisconsin Ave., on the other hand, most people are using them.

Last week, GM took a quick unscientific tally of people on Wisconsin Ave. wearing masks. North of M St., 28 of 36 people were wearing masks (77%). There were too many people on M St. to count, but the mask use was still probably above 50%.

But it is a completely different picture at the Georgetown Waterfront Park. On that day and other times GM has visited, mask use probably barely cracks 10%. The park is filled with groups of people sitting together without masks. Some were 6 feet apart from one another, but most weren’t.

Now this is not to say that these people are reckless or can be blamed for spreading the disease. They were still outside, and there is some science to suggest outdoor transmission of coronavirus, even without masks, is fairly unlikely. So these are just observations, not judgments.

Indoor mask use, however, is a totally different matter. And GM can happily say that he normally sees 100% compliance on that regard.

When all this is over, we will probably eventually learn that 95% of all the precautions we took were unnecessary. But we won’t know which 5% is the important 5% until it’s too late to be useful. So we might as well do all 100% until we learn otherwise.

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