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My Neighbor Posts Angry Comments About Runners Without Masks

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Dear Reverend,

My neighbor keeps posting really angry comments to Front Porch Forum about people running without masks in the neighborhood, and I wish she would stop. She's assuming that none of us cares about spreading germs, but there are articles saying running with a mask that gets moist can actually trap particles and be more harmful.

Soggy Jogger
(female, 32)

Dear Soggy Jogger,

I was riding my bike by the Burlington waterfront the other day and was surprised by how many people weren't wearing masks — runners, walkers, loads of skateboarders at the skate park. I know there is debate about wearing masks when exercising outside, but why not err on the side of caution?

I'm not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one — unlike the buffoon in the White House, but that's another story. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends "wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission."

A cloth face covering isn't a magic bullet against contracting coronavirus cooties. It's meant to help protect other people in case you are infected. It also helps the wearer remember not to touch their face. Running with a moist mask does sound icky, but there has to be a happy medium. An immune-compromise, if you will.

When you go out for a run, try to take routes where you can keep a safe distance from others. Keep a bandana around your neck that you can easily pull up — being careful to touch only the cloth, not your face — when you inevitably do have to pass people. Even if it's only a symbolic gesture of compassion.

On that note, cut your neighbor some slack. Perhaps she is at high risk for severe complications from the virus. If I were, I certainly would be upset to see so many people disregarding the protocol.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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