Opinion open letter

Cambridge face covering order not justified by scientific evidence

The requirement for all Cambridge residents above five years old to wear a face covering in all public outdoor spaces, in effect from April 29 onwards, should be critically reevaluated. Scientific studies have shown that the number of COVID-19 cases transmitted outdoors is three orders of magnitude lower than the number transmitted indoors. Furthermore, no state and very few municipal governments require face covering in outdoor spaces where social distancing is possible. The extreme civil liberties restrictions caused by forcing residents to wear face coverings outdoors are not justified by the negligible potential reduction in COVID-19 cases. I call on City Manager Louis DePasquale and his office to strongly reconsider its mandate on outdoors face covering when social distancing is possible.

P.S. As of 12:30 p.m. on April 29, no response was received to an email request to City Manager DePasquale to reconsider the face covering order.

William Yu Ren Zhou is a graduate student at MIT.