Blogging through the COVID 19-crisis: Are you ready to ditch the mask yet?

photo credit: Alin Luna via Unsplash

The CDC announced in May that fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks in most indoor settings. California is officially ending the Stay at Home Order and fully reopening the economy today  – no more physical distancing, no more capacity limits on businesses, no more county tiers, and relaxed mask guidance. I know, many people are excited, and I understand that people feel like they’ve done what was asked of them (= got vaccinated) and should be able to enjoy some freedom. But are YOU ready to ditch the mask yet?

I need to be honest; I remain skeptical. We are now supposed to use the honor code; after everything we’ve been through this past year? After we were told repeatedly by the last administration that COVID is a hoax? After all the conspiracy theories, the fake news, leading to a divided nation and an insurrection at the dawn of the new administration? And now we’re supposed to just blindly trust that the people who we encounter without masks are all fully vaccinated, not anti-vaxxers or Trumpsters who’ve been defying public health orders all along? 

I am really not sure about this.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel 100% safer moving around in the world since I got vaccinated. A weight has been lifted off my shoulder and every social media post about yet another vaccinated person puts a huge smile on my face. We are moving in the right direction, but when it comes to losing the mask in public places, I am not ready.

This article in The Atlantic lays out some fundamental concepts about individual choices and the ripple effects they can have on public health. After all, the coronavirus basically started with one human being and then quickly spread around the world. The CDC’s announcement that fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks is really putting the responsibility in the hands of the individual, which, I thought we established, does not make sense during a public health crisis (and yes, friends, we’re still in the middle of one, even if things are definitely looking up).

It’s one thing to allow people to meet up with family and friends, who they trust, but to mingle with strangers in public places still feels like a bit of a gamble to me at this time. Especially with new variants emerging.

Just read this post by Omid Scheybani and tell me this couldn’t happen to you.

Yes, the vaccines are great and will most likely protect you from a severe illness, but you can still get – and spread – the coronavirus, and at a time where most kids are not vaccinated and herd immunity is still beyond reach, do you really want to risk this?  Does wearing a piece of cloth in front of your face for a little while longer really put such a big damper on your day?

Honestly, I don’t want this virus. Mild course of illness, or not. I haven’t locked myself inside my home for the last 18 months to now walk out of the house with a sign on my forehead that says “come and get me now”.
For full transparency, I don’t think I have been overly paranoid. Since I got vaccinated, I haven’t been wearing masks on my runs or when we’re out walking (as I can keep social distancing as I see fit) and we’ve had a (fully vaccinated) visitor at my house, but I do not see myself losing the mask  in public indoor settings anytime soon. You?

  1. We’ve been mask free for several weeks now. At first it was a huge deal and most people still wore them…but the numbers have quickly dwindled and now it seems totally normal to be out and about with everyone’s faces exposed. My state was really aggressive about shutting down early and really good about handling the pandemic, so once the governor said that we could lose the masks I was comfortable.

    Even though not many people wear masks now, every time I go out I still see people wearing masks with their noses hanging out. That’s something I used to get a bit angry about during the pandemic, and now I find it hysterically funny.

  2. I am so with you on that, as you know.
    How will we know that everyone is fully vaccinated who isn’t wearing a mask?
    I just don’t want to risk anything.
    We have been in a small touristy city today and most of the visitors didn’t wear a mask. However, it was crowded and therefore I didn’t hesitate to put mine on.
    I don’t need, don’t want to get sick and I surely don’t want to spread the virus.
    Masks are not that big of a deal !

  3. It’s funny that the anti-maskers are acting like we *want* to wear masks, social distance, etc. Pretty nuts! Here in the Czech Republic people, vaccinated or not, are truly acting like there is no pandemic anymore. It’s worrisome. Where I’m at: ready to ditch the mask outdoors but not yet indoors (unless during a visit between vaccinated people).

  4. I’m still wearing my mask at my office, even though half the time I’m only one of two there, and we are both vaccinated. I even just ordered MORE masks from Gap since they were on clearance, ha. I haven’t had a cold or anything during this whole quarantine. I’ve had friends over to the house that were all vaccinated, and we all hung out in the backyard maskless, but that’s a controlled environment.

  5. I’m immune compromised so the CDC says I still need to wear my mask since it’s not clear how protected I am by the virus. So I am continuing to wear a mask when I’m indoors with others that I don’t know. When I’m with family that I know is vaccinated, I don’t wear a mask indoors. Phil doesn’t wear a mask when he grocery shops, at work, etc. But he doesn’t have any health concerns so it makes sense for him. It’s going to end up being such a personal decision. I don’t mind wearing a mask so it’s not a big deal for me to continue to wear it. I am glad that teachers at our school won’t be required to wear masks starting 7/1. The school poled them and they all wanted to be done w/ masks, even though they are around kids who aren’t vaccinated. Facial expressions are so important for teaching young kids – especially in the infant room. Of course if they wanted to continue to wear masks, I would support that, but it’s up to each teacher now and it sounds like all of them will be done wearing masks.

    Our numbers have really improved here in Minnesota so it seems like the vaccines are working as the more people got vaccinated, the more our numbers have dropped. So hopefully that trend continues and we don’t see another spike in cases.

  6. I definitely agree with you. My son is 2 and obviously not vaccinated but also at an age where he won’t wear a mask (we’ve been working with him on it for months now and he will only wear it for a few seconds at a time). So we are still staying home for the most part. What really makes me nervous is our state announced this week that schools and daycares will no longer require them which they had until this point. (Optional for kids 2-4 but required for kids 5 and up and for staff)

  7. I agree with you, especially about the honor system. The fact that we’re just supposed to trust that people will be honest about being vaccinated doesn’t sit right with me, especially with all the BS from people who refused to wear a mask.

    My state dropped all mask mandates several weeks ago but I still continue to wear a mask when I go anywhere indoors, even though I’m vaccinated. It’s interesting because when I go to the supermarket, I would say 95% of shoppers are still wearing a mask even though we technically don’t have to, but I’m thankful for that.

  8. I think you know where I stand on this – and now, with the Delta variant becoming rampant? Still masking in the stores, definitely. I accidentally went in to the (deserted) grocery last week without one and was so anxious for the 20 minutes I was there that I knew I was not ready. I wasn’t within 6 feet of anyone else at any time but … nope. Just not ready. I may not even be ready for inside dining yet. (I know, my COVID anxiety is a bit high / out of control, but… I cannot just switch it all off at the drop of a hat!) Hope you are managing to find a good middle ground for you as you navigate the “trust others even though you have no reason to do so” situation we find ourselves in now.

  9. THIS is exactly how I feel: “It’s one thing to allow people to meet up with family and friends, who they trust, but to mingle with strangers in public places still feels like a bit of a gamble to me at this time. Especially with new variants emerging.”

    Thanks for linking to that Atlantic article, that is a good one.

Comments are closed.