Masks Through 2021: Useless or Useful?

COVID-19 has affected all of us, and with mask mandates being lifted, there are many who questions if it is truly safe to do so, or if it is too soon to be lifting mandates. However, the public may believe it is time– with COVID-19 numbers improving and vaccines being distributed, people are re-thinking their decision to wear masks. 

With over 35% of Americans fully vaccinated (according to Prevention), the next phase is to get rid of masks, for it is that, without a doubt, COVID-19 is getting better. However, many people think lifting masks mandates will worsen the spread of the virus, and create even bigger problems. Although fully vaccinated people are free from wearing masks according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it is still a debate whether or not it is truly safe. 

It seems as though people who are fully vaccinated are still cautious about the situation, and do not fully know if they can take off their masks and still feel safe enough. As of recent, it is still a requirement to wear masks, but coming up this June, it will not be required in certain situations. 

Richard Watkins, M.D, an infectious disease physician, does not fully agree with the lift of masks saying it is a, “very bad idea, especially with the spreading variants.” In fact, the CDC still recommends that you wear masks in crowded areas because you never know who is vaccinated or not.  Masks are still put in place for various locations, such as public transportation, buses, planes, and crowded areas much like hospitals. 

Dr. Fauci had told CNN that things will slowly start going back to normal: “We’re going to have a significant degree of normality beyond the terrible burden that all of us have been through over the last year.”

On the other hand, there are others who believe it will happen sooner or later. Amesh A. Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, believes we will all be able to take our masks off later this year, while realistically being safe: “That may be late 2021, as more people get access to the vaccine.” 

“Even if the CDC allows masks off, I will be wearing one till I feel comfortable taking it off,” said Lupita Jimenez, a graduate from Cam High. “I’ll mask up at all costs because you won’t know if someone is fully vaccinated just by looking at them.”

Although the vaccines have helped greatly with the controlling of COVID-19, there still will be people who are going to be masked up throughout the year. The decrease of cases still seems to have people on edge, not sure if they should still be cautious or trust the process of vaccines.