On my flight home this weekend, there were several people wearing medical masks. At some point during the flight, all of them removed their masks to drink or eat. At first, I thought this was a bit crazy. Why go to the trouble of wearing a mask if you’re going to take it off and breath airplane air?
When I got home, I called a friend who is an infectious disease specialist. He told me it is possible to contract COVID-19 from an infected surface or object (like a glass our cup on an airplane), but it is far more likely to be spread person-to-person by people you are in close contact with (less than six feet), or if someone coughs or sneezes on (or near) you. Said differently: if you’re sitting next to someone who is infected, you’re at risk.
Counterintuitively, taking your mask off to eat or drink, while a risk if someone coughs or sneezes at that moment, is not anywhere near as dumb as I thought.
This is a little road-warrior intel for those of us who have no choice but to get on several airplanes this week. If you’re wondering, I’m not planning to wear a mask. (Not yet, anyway.) The CDC has a “latest updates” button on its site, and they’ve been keeping it updated daily.
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Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.