Do you need to wear a face mask outside?

Face masks have become part of our new normal over the past year both indoors and outdoors. While they’re highly recommended inside heavily populated areas like supermarkets/grocery stores and public transport, there’s not much guidance when it comes to outside.

According to Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH, the risk of catching COVID-19 outside is quite low.

“The risk of outside transmission is very low because viral particles disperse effectively in the outside air. A study in Wuhan, China, which involved careful contact tracing, discovered that just one of 7,324 infection events investigated was linked to outdoor transmission. In a recent analysis of over 232,000 infections in Ireland, only one case of COVID-19 in every thousand was traced to outdoor transmission. And a scoping review from the University of Canterbury concluded that outdoor transmission was rare, citing the opportunity costs of not encouraging the public to congregate outdoors. Overall, transmission is around 5000 times less likely to happen outside than inside.” (Posted April 27, 2021)

Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH
Infectious Diseases doctor and Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

… so, does that mean that we ditch our face masks and get some fresh air? With the vaccination programmes across the world coming along more efficiently and effectively we’re edging closer and closer to that point.

However, until it’s fully safe to do otherwise, we should all continue to maintain social distancing when around people who aren’t in our households, support bubbles or friendship groups.


The quote is taken from Sciline’s ‘Quotes From Experts‘.

torture the data and it will confess to anything

Torture the data and it will confess to anything, as they say at Guantanamo Bay.

Bad Science, Ben Goldacre

This quote is somewhat amusing but very much true of some research carried out. It’s not just limited to science either. How many times do less than reputable sources cherry-pick data and use it to support a conclusion that isn’t correct?

Particularly nowadays with the internet being an open house in terms of the information availability. Researchers must handle data with great care and avoid the temptation of moulding it to fit their hypotheses or narratives.

On This Day – 14th March

On This Day, Albert Einstein was born. Born 14 March 1879 in Ulm, Württemberg, Germany, Einstein was a renowned physicist who developed the special and general theory of relativity.

He is, perhaps, one of the most influential scientists of the 20th Century, with his work continuing to have an impact even today (without his breakthroughs, technology such as the computer, television and music players would not have existed).

Einstein was also partial to dropping some notable insight, much of which exists in the form of quotes posted all over the internet.

My personal favourite (and one I need a constant reminder of) is:

If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.


Sources:

Reference

Today In Science

Biography

The Science of Today

The science of today is the technology of tomorrow

–Edward Teller

Edward Teller was an American physicist who was instrumental in the creation of the hydrogen bomb. He earned the name ‘father of the hydrogen bomb’, although he would later claim he was not as involved as people thought he was.

This is covered in an interesting article in Scientific American called ‘The many tragedies of Edward Teller‘.