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Do you need to wear a mask outside? Dr. Sanjay Gupta answers.



CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta answered viewer questions about wearing masks outdoors, eating indoors and vaccination numbers on CNN’s “New Day.”

 

Q: Do people need to wear masks outside, particularly those who are vaccinated?

A: The vast majority of Covid-19 transmission is not happening outdoors, according to Gupta. Less than 10% of cases happen outside and it is nearly 19 times more likely for transmission to occur indoors, he said. 

“For the most part, you don’t need to wear a mask outdoors,” Gupta said.

But people need to use “common sense,” he said, and should consider if they will be clustered together and the case rate in their area.

“The real question you need to try to answer: what is the likelihood I’m going to breathe in someone else’s air? That’s basically it. The number of people, type of setting … and what is the overall viral spread in their community,” Gupta said. 

Q: How safe is it to eat inside a restaurant?

A: Ventilation and crowding are the big concerns with indoor dining, according to Gupta. 

“I think most places in the country, certainly full capacity indoor dining, I can’t imagine that it would be advised. It’s just still too risky. There’s still too great a chance that you’re going to actually potentially be exposed to the virus,” he said. 

Gupta said he would advise people to be cognizant of limited capacity dining and the rate of transmission in their area before heading indoors to eat. 

Q: If people remain hesitant on getting vaccinated, will the pandemic last longer?

A: Gupta said we may “dip in and out” of herd immunity as more people get vaccinated while others refuse to do so. 

“We may still dip into herd immunity over the summer in part because, you know, the virus will just start to dissipate a little bit with the warmer weather, more people being outside, you may not get as much spread. But we could see a resurgence then in the fall,” he said. 

“The real question we’re trying to ask is how many people out there have an immunity to this virus?” Gupta added, which is made up of those who’ve been vaccinated — but also those who’ve been infected with the virus, a number that Gupta said we may never fully know. 

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