COVID-19 isolate

Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical viral particles, colorized blue, contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots.

Q: Do I need to wear a mask if I go outside for a walk?

A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their guidelines Friday to advise that everyone in the U.S. should wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth if you are in a public setting where you may be near other people. However, if you’re going outside for a walk or to exercise, and you won’t be near other people, it’s probably OK to go without a covering, said Dr. John McNeill, local health authority.

“I think if you’re going to go for a run and you’re going to be by yourself, you’d probably be pretty safe without the mask, and it may be kind of hard to run and breathe with the mask on,” McNeill said Monday. “It’s kind of a common sense thing”

McNeill emphasized that even with a mask, you should still keep your distance from others when you are in a public setting, and continue to regularly wash your hands. The CDC has guides and advice for how to make or craft your own face covering at home.

Ciara McCarthy covers public health for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. You can reach her at or at 580-6597 or on Twitter at @mccarthy_ciara. To support local journalism at the Advocate through Report for America, go to

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Health Reporter

Ciara McCarthy covers public health for the Advocate as a Report for America corps member. She reports on insurance, the cost of health care, local hospitals, and more. Questions, tips, or ideas? Contact: or call 361-580-6597.

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