Cover your heads, two-wheelers |

Cover your heads, two-wheelers

I’ve been a longtime visitor and former part-time resident in the Aspen area. I am a practicing anesthesiologist and have pretty good experience with the effect of wearing a mask.

The other day as I was riding on Rio Grande Trail I was struck by two things — the number of people riding with a mask on and the number of people riding without a helmet.

First, the masks. There is no scientific evidence that wearing a mask while exercising in public will do anything to prevent either getting or transmitting COVID-19. What does happen when you wear a mask, especially when exercising, is you rebreathe carbon dioxide. We don’t need CO2. Rebreathing it increases our respiratory rate, increases our pulse and is simply detrimental. When we exercise, we breath faster and increase our heart rate because of the increased work we are doing, while continuing to produce carbon dioxide at an increased rate. Wearing a mask while doing this is meaningless.

I get that we all want to avoid getting or transmitting the COVID-19 infection, but we also must be sensible. I found it interesting that Aspen City Council is either thinking about or will require masks while exercising. Please do not do that. Wearing a mask in stores or crowds, yes. Social distancing, yes. Briefly on the other issue I mentioned: If we want to be protective of people, why do we not make it a requirement that one wear a helmet while bicycle riding? With the helmets today, there is no downside to doing that, and it simply helps to prevent head injuries in the event of a fall.

Paul Rein

Williamsburg, Virginia