How to ask friends, coworkers, and strangers to wear a mask

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Experts weigh in on approaching difficult conversations around mask wearing, social distancing, and other safety protocols. As coronavirus rates continue to skyrocket across the United States, many of us are following protective measures, such as washing our hands frequently and wearing masks. But despite the evidence that mask wearing and social distancing decrease COVID-19 infection rates, not everyone is doing their part. In a recent Gallup poll, 18% of Americans said they either “rarely” or “never” wear a mask when outside their homes. Read Full Story

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Scientists reveal an alarming unintended consequence of wearing masks

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You should absolutely wear a mask in public. But experts agree—be careful it doesn’t make you feel invincible. The science is certain at this point : Wearing a mask can help reduce the likelihood of being infected with COVID-19. But masks alone are far from perfect. Over the past two weeks, as masks have gone from optional to mandatory in many states, I’ve noticed a shift in behavior. I’ve seen people wearing masks at small get-togethers and people wearing masks in stores—all without observing the six feet of social distancing recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read Full Story

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A four-part plan to wearing a mask all summer

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Wearing a mask is uncomfortable enough already. What happens when the heat and humidity skyrocket? Summer is around the corner, and here in Boston we’ve already had a few warm days. When that happens, it feels like everybody in my neighborhood rushes out the door to soak in the sunshine. The CDC now recommends—and many states mandate—that people wear cloth masks in public places where social distancing isn’t possible. As a result, the parks and trails are now packed with people wearing a rainbow of colorful face coverings. Read Full Story

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This striking science experiment shows the effectiveness of masks and social distancing

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Through coughing, sneezing, and belting out a ‘Hamilton’ tune, a microbiologist showed how droplets travel far less when people wear masks. If anyone heard a Hamilton show tune emanating from the lab at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, that was likely from a test being conducted on the effectiveness of face masks in blocking flying respiratory droplets. Read Full Story

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3 science-backed tips for fighting your social distancing fatigue

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As the pandemic drags on, people are tired of social distancing—but the need remains. Psychology provides answers for how to best fight this crisis fatigue. Here in Austin, TX, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened. In May, the strict social-distancing measures we had practiced for two months were lifted, and almost immediately the mood shifted. Even though city officials were still suggesting that people stay home and that they wear masks whenever they were out, suddenly, there were people outdoors everywhere. Crowds gathered at food trucks, restaurants, and bars. And gradually, the virus emerged throughout the city. Read Full Story

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Harvard professor develops a $50 nasal spray to thwart the spread of COVID-19

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Developed by Harvard professor David Edwards—who previously created inhalable chocolate and cocktails—the spray promises to stop the spread of aerosols by as much as 99%. You should practice social distancing and wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But even masks aren’t perfect. A high-end N95 mask can filter an estimated 99.8% of the virus from the air, while many cotton masks filter just 50% or less . Given that researchers now know the virus is airborne , you may wonder: Is there anything else you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19? Read Full Story

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Why are there still so many coronavirus skeptics?

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People ignoring COVID-19 precautions are wrong, but they’re not crazy. Understanding their behavior can encourage skeptics to engage in social distancing. There is a high level of compliance with the variety of precautions people are being asked to take in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. People are staying at home, wearing masks in public, and generally trying to keep their distance from other people. And those precautions are working. The infection curve is starting to flatten in many countries around the world. Read Full Story

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Smart cameras will soon check if you’re social distancing and wearing a mask

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Companies are racing to build surveillance systems that can monitor indoor spaces for excessive crowds and unmasked people. Imagine pulling up to a supermarket and seeing a big red number on a digital sign outside. Instead of enticing you to come inside with sale prices or specials, this sign is estimating the amount of distance between people inside, suggesting that you stay away until the store is less crowded. Read Full Story

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