Health experts weigh in on wearing masks while driving

Coronavirus Local Impact

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – We’ve been wearing masks to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19 throughout this pandemic.

But with several states lifting mask mandates, their importance is in question. And that’s very concerning for public health officials, who’ve been advocating for mask wearing to get to herd immunity faster.

“We are almost there, the vaccines are just rolling out,” said Dr. Armando Paez, Baystate Health’s Chief of the Infectious Disease Division. “Waiting for the right moment to implement a no mask policy really should be a well thought process.”

Mask wearing is a still a requirement in Massachusetts when you’re out at public places like at the grocery store. But many people are taking mask wearing further than that, keeping theirs on while driving.

“Even before the mandate began we used to make fun of them because of that, but now it’s common, to see them driving with their masks,” said Larry Meersman of Oxford.

Dr. Paez told 22News you have no risk of contracting the virus alone in the car even with the windows down, but there are situations drivers should have one on.

“Obviously if you’re expecting someone to join you in your car with your windows closed, if you are infected you could circulate that,” he said.

But you should consider wearing a mask driving alone if it keeps you from touching your face. And wear a mask even during short encounters, like with a delivery driver. The risk of transmission is low, but it’s even lower if you have a face covering.

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