(Repost from 10/25’s “Over the Hedge”)
There have already been several research reports supporting the benefits of wearing masks in the healthcare setting and the community to reduce transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
But a question on everyone’s minds is: When can we stop wearing masks? Can we stop wearing them after vaccines are available?
People are sick of masks. I get it. I am an infectious disease and public health physician, and wearing a mask is even wearing on me. So, when can we stop wearing masks?
The short answer is: not any time soon. Wearing a mask continues to be important, especially as cases surge across many states in the U.S. and colder temperatures force us back indoors in closer proximity to others.
Although we look forward to having vaccines available in the near future, there are numerous reasons we still need to wear masks even after vaccines become available.
Reason 1: It may take months or longer to get vaccinated.
Reason 2: You won’t know who has or hasn’t been vaccinated.
Reason 3: We don’t know the vaccines’ effectiveness.
Reason 4: We don’t know the duration of vaccine protection.
Reason 5: People can be re-infected.
Taking your mask off too early is like playing Russian roulette, depending on who you are hanging out with and what activities you are doing.
March 20, 2014
September 30, 2017