A leading expert from the University of Oxford said that runners should wear face masks when jogging in busy public places.

An expert in primary health care at the said university, Professor Trish Greenhalgh, said that runners who puff and pant when running should wear face masks because they could transmit the novel coronavirus to people they meet or pass on the street.

However, this suggestion was not well accepted even by other experts in the field. Face masks first became mandatory for public transport in June last year, followed by shops and indoor spaces.

However, they remain optional outdoors, with evidence showing that coronavirus is less transmissible in outdoor places.

Los Angeles Marathon Goes On Despite Concerns Over Coronavirus
(Photo : Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 08: A runner wears a face mask while jogging in the Los Angeles Marathon, which was allowed to continue by health officials in spite of coronavirus COVID-19 fears, on March 8, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. L.A. County health officials recommended that sick people, including runners, stay home and that runners should avoid shaking hands with each other. The marathon, with over 25,000 participants in the race field from all 50 states and 78 nations, is one of the largest in the U.S. Runners whose mailing address was in China, Hong Kong, Italy, Taiwan, Iran and South Korea were deferred until next year’s race. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Asymptomatic Joggers Could Transmit COVID-19 to People They Pass By

In an interview with Good Morning Britain on ITV, Professor Greenhalgh cautioned that asymptomatic joggers could transmit coronavirus to other people when they run past them if they are not wearing face masks.

She added that the virus could be present in the air and that anyone could catch it once they inhale the air that someone has exhaled, MailOnline reported.

"The exercising jogger, the puffing and panting jogger, you can feel their breath come and you can sometimes actually feel yourself inhale it. So there's no doubt that there is a danger there," Professor Greenhalgh said.

She pointed out that 40% of the cases of COVID-19 happen when people catch the virus from asymptomatic infected individuals. Relating to her suggestion, she said that a person jogging who thinks they are fine could develop symptoms of COVID-19 the next day and unknowingly breathe that virus to someone.

She noted that being socially responsible is important.

ALSO READ: Jogger Rushed to the Hospital After an Intense Workout with Face Mask On

Wearing of Face Masks Not Necessary in Quieter Places

Public health expert Professor Devi Sridhar from the University of Edinburgh added that runners and cyclists should wear face coverings when in crowded places outdoors but noted that they may take off their masks and run freely when they are not surrounded by other people or in quieter places.

Professor Sridhar said that it depends on how close the people are to the runners and how heavily they are breathing, according to Metro. Like professor Greenhalgh, she said that coronavirus could spread through the air, so runners should consider where they are running.

For example, sidewalks are usually a busy area for people because it was built intended for pedestrians. Also, high streets are not advisable. But when in parks, runners may take off their masks and run freely.

Enforce Social Distancing

But not all people agree with professor Greenhalgh's suggestion. Infectious disease expert Dr. Jake Cuning of Imperial College London said on a Twitter post that this is shifting away from the focus of indoor transmission and is "whipping up hysteria."

Tom Watson, former labor deputy said that it is hard enough running without a face mask on and thinks he thinks that it would be harder running wearing face coverings.

Instead, he suggests that strict rules on social distancing should be enforced. He said runners should know that they are breathing deeply and should try to avoid running anywhere near to people.


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