When will Masks end?


It has been a year and a half and masks are still used to this day. There has been a debate for a while after vaccines came out on if masks are still necessary with the tools we have today. The answer is yes. There are many factors that contribute to this answer, so let’s take it step by step.  


  1. Herd immunity has not been achieved yet

Vaccines have been put in the arms of Americans across the country. Vaccines have been put in the arms of people around the world. They are safe and effective. They prevent severe disease and death. The problem here is that even though people get the vaccine, they can still spread the virus, and only 56% of the United States has gotten fully vaccinated according to the CDC. A general guideline for herd immunity, meaning that the majority of the population has some kind of immunity to the virus, whether it is from getting covid itself or getting the covid shot, is about 75-80% of the population to be fully vaccinated. Now that is just a general goal, but we may see herd immunity achieved below that goal or above that goal. No one really knows for sure. We will know for sure if immunity is reached when people do not die rapidly, hospitalizations are low, and infections are low, which leads to my second point. 

        2. Infection is still way too high

In the United States as a whole, we are averaging 70k cases per day and in New Jersey 1,200 cases per day according to John Hopkins University. The numbers are still trending down, but the overall infection is still way too high. When you have high infection rates, more people are going to get the virus, unvaccinated people are going to go to the hospital more likely and some of them are going to die. Hospitals will be overwhelmed and the virus will be undetectable and unstoppable, spreading like a wildfire. Our best way to stop one of the most contagious respiratory diseases when the infection is high is to wear masks. It stops the spread of respiratory droplets/infection and helps flatten the curve of infections. 

        3. Fall is here and winter is around the corner

Not only do we have high infection and not enough vaccinations, Fall is already here. The weather is still unusually warm here in Southern Jersey, but starting next week the weather will be back on track to feeling like Fall conditions. Cold weather plus daylight time shrinking causes people to stay inside more which causes a much greater risk of rapid infection to happen. Your chances of getting COVID indoors is far greater than getting it outdoors. Not only that, but Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all have the chance to cause super spreader events. 

Masks can be viewed in many ways. They can be viewed as useless, annoying, unnecessary after wearing them for over a year and a half. Even though we are done with the virus, the virus isn’t done with us yet. Masks aren’t completely going away anytime soon at this point of the pandemic. Some indoor public places, all of public  transportation, and some schools require them to this day. So view masks as a way of helping one another, helping stop the spread, and a way for all of us to see each other safely.