Joggers should be wearing face masks in busy areas, say experts – Runner’s World (UK)

Joggers should be wearing face masks in busy areas, say experts  Runner’s World (UK)

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  • Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Trish Greenhalgh, a professor in primary care health sciences at the University of Oxford, said runners should be wearing face masks, due to the risk of breathing ‘Covid onto someone’.
  • Current Government guidelines do not require runners to wear face masks when exercising.

This is not the first time whether or not runners should be wearing face masks has been debated in the public eye. In January, Piers Morgan called runners ‘unbelievably selfish’ for breathing heavily and running down busy streets. A few days later, Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said the risk of transmitting coronavirus when running is ‘extremely low’.

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This week, the topic was brought up again, as Trish Greenhalgh, a professor in primary care health sciences at the University of Oxford, said on Good Morning Britain that there is a ‘danger’ of runners spreading the virus in busy areas. Greenhalgh said, ‘There is no doubt the virus is in the air, there is no doubt that you can catch it if you inhale, and that someone else has exhaled.

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‘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.

’40 per cent of Covid cases happen by catching it from people who have no symptoms – so you’re jogging along you think you’re fine, and then the next day you develop symptoms of Covid, but you’ve actually breathed that Covid onto someone perhaps you know, an old lady walking a dog or something like that.’

Devi Sridhar, a professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, agreed with Greenhalgh, adding that runners should wear a mask when exercising in busy areas, but when they were in parks or open spaces, they should feel free to take off their masks and ‘run freely’.

When asked about the risk runners posed, Sridhar said, ‘It really depends how close they are to you and how heavily they are breathing. Runners should think, and I do think, where am I running and I’m trying to be attentive to pedestrians because the sidewalks are there for pedestrians and busy areas and high streets.

‘If you’re out in a park then take off your mask and run freely. I think we need some consideration for each other.’

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Former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, who previously lost eight stone, disagreed with the experts, saying instead it should be down to runners to choose routes where they can distance from others. ‘Millions of people in the country, the only thing they’ve had in lockdown is running. I don’t think I could do a run with a mask on. It’s hard enough for me to run without a mask’ he said.

‘The strict rule that should be enforced is social distancing. If you’re a runner, you should know, obviously you’re breathing in more deeply and you should try and not run into people or run near them’ Watson added.

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