The scenario is changing quickly. Check often with sites like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the most recent information. New information will be added to this account as it becomes available.
We have cause to be optimistic that a return to a pre-pandemic normal is drawing near as we head into the summer months and vaccination rates among Americans start to rise.
However, COVID-19 is still spreading across the nation, and in certain regions, the number of cases is significantly rising.
According to the CDC, as of April 21, over 135 million Americans had received one dose of the vaccine, and over 87 million had received all three doses.
But even if we are fully protected, we still need to be careful to wash our hands, mask up when we are around people who aren’t in our own homes or who aren’t protected, adhere to state and CDC guidelines for in-person gatherings, avoid unnecessary travel, and physically distance ourselves in crowded places.
You may still be considering what to do for your personal health now and how it may impact your training and running.
We contacted Matt Ferrari, Ph.D., associate professor of biology in the Eberly College of Science, researcher with the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Penn State, David Nieman, Dr.PH., a health professor at Appalachian State University and director of the Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus, Brian Labus, Ph.D., MPH, assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Amy Treakle, M.D., an infectious
Can I go for a run outside?
Yes—and the best way to lower your risk is still to run alone. Try time your run for when you know your route or path will be less crowded. Go for a solitary run and appreciate the outdoors.
Your immune system can fight against viruses if you engage in moderate to vigorous movement for 30 to 60 minutes each day. Make sure you are aware of local events, including any limits or required self-quarantines.
Furthermore, if you are sick or contagious, you should stay home because going out puts others at danger, such the elderly or those with compromised immune systems.
States like New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut mandate self-quarantine after travel to the state from specific hotspots across the nation.
It’s a misconception that sick individuals can ‘exercise the virus out of the system’ or’sweat it out.’ Actually, Neiman claims, the reverse is true.
Should I use a mask when running by myself?
CDC recommendations still that “people wear masks in public settings and when near individuals who don’t reside in your family, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain,” despite the fact that COVID-19 vaccines are increasing. (Guidelines are developing quickly.)
The CDC advises the following if you have received all of your recommended vaccinations:
- Visit with other fully immunized individuals of any age within a home or private location without wearing a mask.
- Visit one family of unvaccinated individuals who are not at high risk for serious disease within a home or other private environment without wearing a mask.
- Domestic travel without a pre- or post-travel examination
- Travel inside the country without being quarantined thereafter.
- Depending on the destination, travel overseas without a pre-travel exam.
- Travel across borders without being quarantined later.
Even if you have had all of your vaccinations, the CDC advises avoiding going indoors, going near persons who are more likely to get COVID-19, without wearing a mask, and going to medium or large groups.
Prior to those revisions, several state governments, such as those in California and Pennsylvania, started advising everyone to wear cloth face covers when they go out in public for necessary activities in order to assist stop people who are asymptomatic from spreading the disease.
Additionally, numerous establishments around the nation now demand that customers enter while wearing face masks. The truth is that these declarations should serve as a reminder to athletes and everyone else that the current state of affairs is quite serious.
And that everyone of us must take into account how our particular decisions will affect the neighborhood in which we live,” adds Ferrari.
Can You Run While Wearing a Mask?
Masks only function to stop spread when worn properly. For instance, according to Pennsylvania regulations, masks “shall not be worn moist or while wet from spit or mucus.”
The secretary of health for Pennsylvania, Rachel Levine, M.D., made this suggestion during a news conference on April 3 if you plan to exercise alone in a spot where you won’t run into anybody else.
Ferrari says there is no benefit to wearing a facial covering if you won’t be around any people. In the event of an emergency, such as an accident or a stop at a store for a drink, it is still preferable to have one with you.
Face covers may control the spread of the sick and shield the healthy from inhalation, according to Ferrari. The extent to which they accomplish these goals is debatable, but one thing is certain: masks are only truly effective when used correctly, and the majority of individuals are not trained in doing so. Even improper mask donning and donning might put you at danger for hand-to-mouth contamination.
If you’re in an area where other people may be present, Nieman advises wearing a Buff gaiter or another moisture-wicking face covering while running and keeping at least six feet (the current recommendation) away from them.
These actions may help reduce the amount of droplets that are spread to other people due to heavy breathing. He declares, “It looks we cannot be too vigilant; this virus is exceedingly infectious and transmissible.”
Can Gaiters Really Help Prevent COVID Spread?
But it’s crucial to remember that wearing a cloth face covering is not a replacement for washing your hands, keeping your distance, or staying in while you’re sick. For advice, look at the suggestions made by your local government. A list of state health departments may be found here.
Can you move outdoors when a shelter-in-place order is in effect?
Although the previous restrictions have been gradually relaxed in all 50 states, as cases increase, residents of some states or counties may be instructed to shelter in place until further notice, which means that everyone should try to stay as much as possible inside their homes and away from other people.
However, as stated in the order that was first issued in San Francisco, for instance, most shelter-in-place orders permit people to go outside and engage in solitary outdoor activities, such as running, walking, and hiking, so long as they follow safe social distance guidelines (remain at least six feet apart), avoid congregating in groups, and stay inside if they are feeling ill.
In general, before going outside for an exercise, make careful to check your local public health guidelines and the most recent health regulations in your region located on your state and local government websites. A list of state health departments may be found here.
Should you avoid running with other people?
Asymptomatic spread is still a problem, the WHO recently stated in a live session. So even if you run with others, you can still be in danger, according to Labus.
Additionally, there can be limitations on the number of people who can attend an event outside your house, depending on where you reside.
Each person will decide whether to run with others based on their own risk assessment, but if you live in an area with a limited community spread, it could be safe to do so with two or three other individuals you can trust to be open and honest about any possible exposure to the virus they may have had.
The dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, Ashish Jha, M.D., recently told NPR that “if somebody were right next to you and spending, let’s say, 10, 15 minutes running in that little stream of breath that you’re exhaling, there might be a risk,” despite the fact that research has linked the transmission of COVID-19 to indoor settings more so than outdoor settings.