Immunologist: Aspen can do much better with masks

I am a board-certified immunologist and a summer resident in Aspen for decades. I am appalled at how people in Aspen wear their masks. While there is close to 100% wearing of masks indoors in Aspen; there is only about a 50% adherence to mask wearing outdoors.

This is disappointing because COVID-19 can also be transmitted outdoors. The way people wear their masks upsets me. Wearing your mask on your wrist doesn’t help all that much. People walk into restaurants putting on their masks while walking past people who are eating. “Please put your mask on before you walk in!”

A few additional observations: A former employee of a restaurant came mask-less to visit the wait staff where she had previously worked. She was hugging and yes, kissing her former colleagues only feet from patrons who were eating mask-less; another waiter at an outdoor eating establishment lowered his mask when he was taking orders so he might be better heard, duh; and of course the nose, a server in a socially distanced buffet line, had his mask only over his mouth as he was putting food on my plate. The custom of leaving one’s nose swaying in the breeze, uncovered, is common all over town. Lastly, are bandanas, known to be the least protective face mask by scientists. Aspen is a beautiful and relatively safe place for COVID-19. As of yesterday the test positivity rate was about 7%. Let’s try to get it back down to 1-2% where we will all be much safer.

Dr. Michael P. Pacin

Aspen and Palmetto, Florida