To Mask or Not to Mask?

The question continues. As the CDC has updated its guidelines, how do you feel about their new recommendations? Essentially, if you are fully vaccinated, your life can return to normal, with exceptions for following rules for businesses and your localities. Our governor in Virginia has lifted the mask mandate except for businesses and healthcare settings that require them. I’m not so confident in these recommendations, especially considering that only 36% of the US is fully vaccinated. I’m still recovering from the days of double masking and wearing N95’s all day to prevent the spread of Covid in healthcare settings, which seems like yesterday. 

In the Metro Richmond area, I have already seen people entering stores without masks in higher numbers, even though the stores still require them. For me, I’m not yet ready to ditch them entirely. 

First, I’ve already worked with patients in the hospital who were fully vaccinated and got Covid anyway! The conclusion? They picked up a variant that the vaccine wasn’t fully effective against. That’s concerning. But we also aren’t doing a great job of genotyping the variants, either. I feel like this should be a given if someone tests positive who was vaccinated, and especially if they become ill enough to require hospitalization. How else will we know how the virus is evolving otherwise? 

From the days of double masking: a fit tested N95 with a level one surgical mask on top, as well as goggles to protect me from contracting Covid-19. This was during the height of the winter wave.

Second, are we really going to rely on the honor system for this? Not a chance this will go well. Part of me feels like the new guidelines were intended create incentive for more people to choose to vaccinate. I’m not sure this will work. And the Biden administration has already stated that it will not require any type of vaccination passport. But this just leaves the opportunity for taking advantage of a lenient system. 

In my county, there was a group who protested at last week’s school board meeting. They were mad about a study conducted about equality in our schools, and they were also protesting the continued use of masks in school and getting vaccinated. So, essentially your typical science deniers/all lives matter misinformed. These are the folks who never wore masks at our local Walmart, anyway. I imagine these people will claim they are vaccinated to get by with not wearing masks. Sigh.

I’m very grateful that our school system will continue to require masks and is holding vaccination clinics for kids 12 and older in the next two weeks. My younger daughter will be participating!

Third, vaccination rates are still low in developing and third world countries. As long as this is the case, the virus has the opportunity to rapidly replicate and mutate. That’s just science. And with that fact, the potential to produce a mutation(s) that will render current vaccines ineffective is entirely possible. Consider that the variant wreaking havoc in India right now has not one, but two significant mutations. This article explains very well the phenomenon of mutation and how the US lags behind other nations in performing genome sequencing of Covid samples.

I fear that we are in a honeymoon phase in the US at this point. I sincerely hope I’m wrong. But as long as we have citizens who could safely get the vaccine refuse to do so, and as long as people are able to travel to and from our country, we are not isolated from receiving future variants in the US. Not only that, we don’t even know how long our immunity will last from these current vaccines. I’m approaching the 6 month mark of being fully vaccinated myself, the originally predicted immunity range from the current vaccines.

Playing with my neighbor’s puppies earlier this year.

The pandemic is not over, unfortunately, which means that in many situations, particularly indoors, I will continue to choose to mask for now. I was one of the first in my community to mask, and I may be one of the last to stop! Stay well, friends. 

How do you feel about the new guidelines from the CDC for the fully vaccinated? Would you trust that a fellow shopper who is maskless has been vaccinated? Do you fear being judged by others, whether you choose  to mask or not? As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy. 

Published by annecreates

I am a physical therapist, wife, mom, runner, artist, and vegan. I'm passionate about helping others find wellness! Assistant Coach for the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team. Current ambassador for: Nuun, Switch4Good, and Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon 2021.

5 thoughts on “To Mask or Not to Mask?

  1. Thanks for your important work in healthcare.

    Here in Newfoundland, everyone started wearing masks early on in the pandemic, and mercifully few people got sick with covid.

    We are still required to wear masks, and many of us are partially vaccinated.

    I’ve gotten used to wearing a mask in public and will probably continue to wear it for some time. 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reading and responding!

      I’ve always felt that being a healthcare provider is an honor. One of my favorite post-Covid patients was actually discharged today. I’m so happy that I was a part of his success! He had been in the hospital for 6 months.

      I think it’s interesting to hear how other countries and localities are managing the pandemic. I know that the rollout for vaccines was slower in Europe for many reasons, but I’m glad that you are getting them now!

      Stay well!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Anne~~I am in Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada & we are in our 3rd lockdown. I wanted to THANK YOU for a wonderful & insightful post about Covid!! I too, was 1st to glove & mask when Covid “officially” arrived here March 13th, 2021. I no longer glove but I continue to mask…..we are supposed to mask! I can tell you there are people up here who say they have Asthma & can’t wear a mask…..REALLY? I have Bronchial Asthma & I wear a mask with charcoal filter that is equivalent of 8 layers! Funny how I can still breathe….
    During this 3rd wave only essential stores are open yet there are tourists all over the place & alot of people driving to places they should not be going to….
    I wish everyone would read your post & believe.
    But they don’t. We get anti-maskers & conspiracy theorists too. I AGREE with you 150%. The SCIENCE speaks for itself….then again I used to be in Nursing….maybe that is why I ‘get’ what is going on.
    I send you kind regards & prayers of protection. Thank you for your dedication & care.
    Sincerely, Sherri-Ellen & **purrss** BellaDharma
    THE Purrfect Pad

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for your comments. I sincerely hope I’m wrong, but I’m going to play it safe for a while longer. We can’t seem to change the minds or behavior of the misinformed. Stay well, my northern neighbor!

      Like

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