The guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have caused a lot of the public to be very wary and cautious about where they go or who they come in contact with. This cautiousness have brought some individuals to the point of seriously questioning the CDC. Especially after they announced that fully vaccinated people might finally be able to remove their masks.
For the portion of the population who have received a full vaccination, is it okay to finally remove a mask they have been advised to wear for over a year? Despite this long-awaited announcement of people being able to roam mask-free, there are still a few exceptions to removing the guideline to wear masks. So the answer to the previous question is yes…sometimes.
Conflicting Rules, Laws, and Guidelines
Because the virus is a highly variable factor, there is a lot that we are continuing to learn about it. Previous guidelines given by the CDC can change as new information is discovered about the nature of the coronavirus and its variants. The continual discoveries can complicate safety measures and make it difficult for organizations to know how to best protect the people they serve.
Rules and laws for safety from the coronavirus have often varied between people, stores, cities, and states. The differences between them are often difficult for the public to keep track of and know which guidelines they should abide by.
For example, when the CDC announced that it is safe for fully vaccinated individuals to go mask-free, many stores such as Walmart, Costco, and Target lifted the mask mandate. Yet, those stores also committed to following the regulations placed by state and local jurisdictions of the stores’ locations. It is wise to both obey the local government’s laws and follow the guidelines provided by the CDC.
The 5 W’s of Continuing to Wear Masks
The CDC has provided valuable information on how people can best protect themselves from infection and prevent the spread of the disease. To give a thorough overview of the current guidelines, the 5 W’s of mask-wearing will be covered:
- Who needs to wear a mask? Unvaccinated people should continue to wear a mask and social distance. Fully vaccinated people are not required to wear a mask in all settings, but the CDC recommends that those people continue wearing masks in certain situations.
- What features should a good mask have? Masks should completely cover a person’s nose and mouth, and fit snugly. Masks should have two or more layers of breathable fabric, and have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out from the top.
- Where and when do people need to wear a mask? Currently, in most outdoor situations and many indoor situations, a vaccinated individual can freely speak without the necessity of a mask for a safeguard. However, the CDC still strongly advises mask-wearing in high-traffic settings such as buses, plains, trains, or any other forms of public transportation and transportation hubs.
- Why. Because scientists and the CDC are constantly investigating the virus and discovering new information. Previously known facts about the virus can change as the virus forms mutations that increase transmissibility or severity. Masks are a proven way to prevent virus transmission, and they work as both a shield against outside germs and a covering to keep people’s germs to themselves.
Conclusion: Is Wearing A Mask Still Necessary?
Rules and guidelines have changed with the scientific discoveries of new information, but the importance of wearing a mask is a guideline that has remained constant throughout the pandemic. So to answer the question on everyone’s mind: Yes, masks continue to be a necessary component in controlling this pandemic and limiting the spread of different COVID-19 variants.