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You still have to wear your face mask outside even when it’s hot

Published Jun 12th, 2020 9:41PM EDT
Face mask
  • Face masks remain one of the only tools we have to fight the coronavirus pandemic that continues to exact a scary toll in the US.
  • The onset of the hot summer months may inspire some people to get lax when it comes to wearing face masks to stay safe from COVID-19.
  • Here are some tips to keep in mind associated with face masks.

The US Centers for Disease Control has released updated guidelines around the wearing of face masks to stay safe from coronavirus, as part of the first call the center has hosted with reporters since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis in the US back in March.

Among other things, the guidance “strongly encourages” everyone to continue wearing face masks in public right now, especially participants of large gatherings “where individuals might raise their voice” for activities like shouting or singing. This new guidance, incidentally, comes as President Trump is about a week away from restarting his in-person campaign rallies (though his campaign is apparently concerned enough about the coronavirus that rally attendees have to first agree not to hold them responsible if they catch the virus). These guidelines about face masks from the CDC, it should be noted, are not “regulations, they are not commands, but they are recommendations or even suggestions … to be able to have a gathering that will keep people as safe as possible,” Jay Butler, the CDC’s deputy director for Infectious Diseases, said during the call with reporters.

Officials are perhaps starting to get more worried about Americans becoming increasingly lax about wearing face masks — one of the only protective tools we have to limit the spread of the coronavirus — because we’re seeing a worrisome uptick in cases around the country in somewhere between 19 and 21 states. Experts are also projecting the number of deaths to climb in the coming weeks and months, and because we’re moving into the dog days of summer, people may be less likely to wear masks in public as they get hot and sweaty.

Which is precisely the wrong move right now. Here, then, are some steps you can take so that wearing a face mask is a little more bearable during the hot summer months.

Anne Rimoin, a professor of epidemiology at UCLA and director of the university’s Center for Global and Immigrant Health, told CNN that people should try to avoid being out during the hottest part of the day if they can, which would help make wearing a face mask during the summer less onerous. Also, one face mask is not necessarily as good as another — it matters what they’re made of.

“How well you can breathe through a material is as important as how well it stops the spread of disease,” Rimoin said. Cotton masks, for example, provide a lot of comfort and “breathability.” Ideally, Rimoin says, a face mask should fit “snugly but comfortable” against your face, and she also tells CNN that you should be able to wash and dry the mask without damaging its shape (Check out some of these mask deals on Amazon if you want some suggestions on what to buy).

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.