When Do I Need a Covid Face Mask? Experts Weigh In.

My husband and I have been wearing masks since March last year and are now fully vaccinated. When on an intercontinental flight, is it advisable to take the mask off at all? — Dirk Evenson, Bay Area, California

Rivers: When I flew recently while fully vaccinated, I wore a high-quality mask, but I took it off to eat and drink as needed. There is still a mask mandate on planes and other modes of transportation, so be sure to follow the airline’s policies, but I think you can safely stay hydrated.

Morrison: I agree with Dr. Rivers. Now that I am fully vaccinated, I look forward to flying again. I plan to wear a regular two-ply mask while walking through the airport or flying on the plane. Also, I will remove my mask only to eat and drink. If everyone on the flight is also following these guidelines, the risk of transmission is low.

My choir wants to begin indoor rehearsals again in a week. We will be masked and distanced, but with the aerosols created during singing, it sounds like that may not be enough. Is it safe to attend? I am vaccinated and will be masked, but I’m not sure if all the other singers are also vaccinated. — Elaine Cooper, Arizona

Rivers: Since you are vaccinated, you can attend indoor choir. I agree with you that it’s a high-risk activity for people who are unvaccinated, so for them, I would not recommend participation, even while masked.

Marr: The combination of the vaccine, masks and distance greatly reduces your risk. As long as you are healthy, it seems like an appropriate time to return to rehearsals. If unvaccinated people are attending, it would be better to hold the rehearsal outdoors, as singing is known to produce a lot of aerosols that could carry the virus if someone is infected.

What level of Covid-19 in the community (cases per 100,000) would make it safe enough to use face shields, rather than masks, while partner dancing (contra dance) in a group of about 30 people, all of whom are vaccinated? We would be indoors with the windows open. We change partners between dances. — Michael Hanson, Seattle

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