It is too soon to lift mask mandates

Los Angeles County has relaxed its indoor mask mandates. Businesses that want to allow customers and workers who are fully vaccinated not to wear masks may do so starting today. 

This follows the state-wide end to mask mandates vaccinated people effective Feb. 16.

People who  want to lose their masks will be required to prove that they tested negative for COVID-19 within the past two days or that they are fully vaccinated upon entry to the establishment.

According to the California For All COVID tracker, “Everyone is required to wear masks in public transit and in stations, terminals, and airports, indoors in K-12 schools and childcare, healthcare settings, state and local correctional facilities and detention centers, homeless shelters, long-term care settings and adult and senior care facilities.” 

Although these places still have mask mandates for the obvious reasons that they are highly trafficked areas where people may possibly come in contact with someone who has COVID-19, it can be argued that all indoor public settings fit that description. 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency said that droplets of COVID-19 vary in size from visible to microscopic. The EPA also said that residing indoors without proper ventilation or conditions these droplets containing COVID-19 can accumulate causing higher risk of contracting the virus. If indoors public settings lift the mask mandates then the possibility that these droplets increase because of people who present no symptoms are around increase the possibility of another wave of infections across California. 

To end these mandates across vaccinated people would mean to end mask mandates amongst every single person that calls themselves vaccinated even if those claims are lies. Workers in retail and restaurant settings have become accustomed to dealing with anti-maskers and some have just grown tired of asking people who enter the vicinity to wear masks. 

It is evident that the coronavirus has become endemic, and like the flu it will keep evolving and getting stronger and harder to combat. We will soon have another variant that will devastate again because these mandates are being lifted too soon, it will be an endless cycle of hope, regret and defeat.

The only way out of this cycle is to get vaxxed, get boosted and wear your masks.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration implemented a new COVID preparedness program on Feb 17 called “SMARTER” that will emphasize stockpiling masks and tests.

While the mandates may be lifted, it is our responsibility to keep our community safe against this invisible ailment.

Although wearing masks does not absolutely guarantee not contacting the virus, it provides a large percentage of protection depending on what type of mask is worn. The EPA says that the n95 mask has a fitted filtration efficiency of 98.4%. This is a high number that almost guarantees absolute protection. To wear a piece of cloth across one’s face is much less of a hassle than to have to be in a hospital intubated to respirators fighting for one’s life or cause that effect on others.

As a community most everyone can say that mask mandates have become tiresome and repetitive but it has become even more evident that these mandates have mitigated the death of many people across counties.

Although cases across California have been plummeting, the fight is far from over. Let’s not declare victory prematurely.

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Unsigned editorials represent the opinion of the Campus Times Editorial Board.

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