The new ethics of Covid: Holding each other accountable for risky behavior saves lives

David G. Allan is the editorial director for CNN Travel, Style, Science and Wellness. This essay is part of a column called The Wisdom Project, to which you can subscribe here.

(CNN)While I was hiking recently with my family, a woman came toward us from the other direction, wearing a standard face mask. As we neared, she jumped to the edge of the trail and then pointed at us. Firmly, but not rudely, she asked us to keep our distance while we passed.

We weren't wearing masks. No one — at least who we saw — in the park was wearing a mask, except her. Being outside and occasionally passing strangers is a very low-risk activity (though not imaginary) for Covid-19 exposure, so we didn't cover our hot and sweaty faces with masks.