Oregon’s indoor masking policy ends on March 12, 2022. This inflection point in social policy raises the question about how I should personally respond to this change.
I could simply continue to wear my mask when I leave my urban apartment regardless of the external change. In a way, I’m already doing that as many of my neighbors and fellow citizens have dropped their mask use in anticipation of the expiration of this policy.
I’m not angry with them and I understand the psychological toll that this pandemic has taken on everyone. I am consoled by my double vaccination plus booster status and the daily commitment that I make to my sleep, nutrition, and mindfulness practices.
Perhaps now is the time to leave the mask-wearing behind me and take my chances with this new social environment. There’s an argument about those who become infected with Covid now often experience a light case that leaves them with a more robust immune response that is more durable than vaccination. Not sure if I fully buy that but, if true, offers another reason to leave my mask at home for good.
I’ve been careful for these last two years and I don’t regret that decision. I started my quarantine on March 8, 2020, almost exactly two years ago. I’m ready for a change.
What will you do in response to the widespread retreat of mask wearing policies?
Stop wearing a mask completely.
Wear a mask only in crowded environments like the grocery store.
Continue wearing a mask even though the wider society discontinues mask use.
Today Losangeles has dropped the mask mandate indoors. The outdoor requirement was dropped a while back.
I have been working in person all through the pandemic with masks of course.
I think it’s a good time to be done with them if we feel we want to. I’ve had 4 shots of vaccine, I’m as protected as I can be.
Masks are a short term solution. I’ll be happy to wear one if the numbers go back up.
I haven’t been out yet today. It will be interesting to see what people are doing
Our county post daily test positive along with other metrics. If in our area positive test are less than 10% we relax on the masking in most area’s.
If we had to go somewhere that seemed especially risky we would still mask.
I’ve told my kids at this point its up to them if they want to wear mask at school. They still want to so they do. It seems like still more than 50% of kids wear mask even though its not required. That may be different at other schools or counties.
I still wear a mask at the doctors office. I actually thing that would be a nice trend to keep forever. If I’m going somewhere I’m sick or others are sick it be nice to reduce the chance of spreading whatever it is.
Good Question! I am 71 yrs old and have been a type 1 for 63 yrs. I am keeping my mask on, in fact my husband and I double mask. I don’t want to get sick and I don’t want to take the chance of getting long covid which is getting a lot of press
We are old, we retired ten years ago, and we are introverts. We also live in fairly isolated areas. We can walk on the beach without masks. Being introverts we don’t mind staying fairly isolated.
If hospitals are provided with the medications to stop covid, then we might do some traveling.
My non-D husband has a different autoimmune disorder for which he takes a biologic medication. So we will continue to wear masks in crowded settings.
ETA: I checked to learn my county’s vaccination rate: only 39 percent overall fully vaccinated.
I wear a mask where mandated. I appreciate the mandate for transportation (airplane, trains, etc) because those environments include people from all over in very close proximity. I am not ready to go to indoor concerts, but I currently go out to restaurants and similar places where masks are not an option. I suspect I have had the virus and didn’t even know it because I’ve had 3 doses of the vaccine.
I think masks are effective on a population level, but a mask would need to be very high quality (eg N95) to provide a high level of personal protection against infection from Omicron. I think vaccines provide more protection for me personally…
I’m not opposed to wearing masks while grocery shopping or at doctor’s offices- primarily because these are essential services and not everyone can benefit yet from the protections vaccines offer. I’ll wear a mask if it’s required, but I’m no longer concerned about my personal safety. If a new variant comes along that challenges protections that vaccines offer, then I may change my perspective. But right now, cases are low and I have protection. I want to appreciate all the joys in life without covering my face all the time.
I recognize I’m young and fairly healthy so that definitely influences my perspective.
Colorado did away with mask mandates last week. Basically saying we were at 91% immunity, whether it be from full vaccination status or from natural immunity via contacting them illness, so there was no further need. I’m not sure how that will play out, but the stats do look like we’re running out of people to infect. We went from the highest rate of new cases to date last month back down to very few at all now. Will be curious to see if there’s another spike in the coming weeks.
I honestly didn’t know we had any mask mandates still it place. I thought it was all voluntary or at the behest of business owners and whatnot. I suppose that’s because I’ve had zero reason to go to any government regulated building. So I really don’t see how the change will affect me. I’ll continue to mask where I’m uncomfortable, and not mask when I feel the risk is low.
I am definitely looking forward to the day my eye doctor no longer requires masks, though. It’ll be really nice to read that eye chart without my seldom-worn-anymore glasses fogging up!
As an introvert, I quite liked the social distancing policies. I’ll be sad to see people invading my personal space again.
Only 50% of the population is fully vaccinated in the county where we spend the most time. It would be less if we didn’t have a college.
We live in Manhattan, a region highly vaccinated and tested. We’re both boosted, but we’ll keep up higher standards since most pronouncements of easing safeguards have been wrong. We don’t trust guidance from government bodies, particularly those from our new mayor, who seems excessively interested in getting business back at the expense of human welfare. I’ve always seen laxity as a problem, loosening because everyone else does, and I’m disinclined to do things because other people do them, at least in this regard.
I work from home, so I have a negligible risk that way, and we still mask for anything in public indoors, like in the gym, the museum - this is still a requirement - and in cabs, but take them off when we eat. All of our groceries from various stores are delivered, but we will run over the local pharmacy for prescriptions, although even those can be delivered. We are careful who we spend time with, and our friends and close family are vaccinated, as well as careful to avoid risk. Some family members are in their 80s, and some friends are in their seventies, so even when fully boosted they will be at higher risk.
My masks are KF94s and will double mask with something attractive and less clinical looking if the environment is highly trafficked. I still wash my hands after any contact with the outside world, or just spritz with an alcohol cleanser, even though we know that has a low likelihood of transmission. We open the windows - our apartment has an insanely intense updraft - when we have maintenance staff in. In truth, the masks can feel good, particularly in freezing weather. I’m fine in the cold, walking around in gym shorts, but find my fingertips and ears can burn, and if it is very cold and windy, my face will burn. The mask helps a bit.
At some point, I will feel justifiably foolish, but for now, masks stay on…
People are often thinking in terms of death, disability, or long COVID, but there are some not so noticeable effects:
COVID-19 infections increase risk of heart conditions up to a year later | EurekAlert!
An in-depth analysis of federal health data indicates that people who have had COVID-19 are at increased risk of developing cardiovascular complications within the first month to a year after infection. Such complications include disruptive heart rhythms, inflammation of the heart, blood clots, stroke, coronary artery disease, heart attack, heart failure or even death.
“But most remarkably, people who have never had any heart problems and were considered low risk are also developing heart problems after COVID-19,” he added. “Our data showed an increased risk of heart damage for young people and old people; males and females; Blacks, whites and all races; people with obesity and people without; people with diabetes and those without; people with prior heart disease and no prior heart disease; people with mild COVID infections and those with more severe COVID who needed to be hospitalized for it.”
“Some people may think 4% is a small number, but it’s not, given the magnitude of the pandemic,” Al-Aly said. “That translates to roughly 3 million people in the U.S. who have suffered cardiovascular complications due to COVID-19.”
Yes, this is what I heard about yesterday, but they were calling it long covid. It made me think of all the people who have said that having covid was not a big deal.
Long COVID is different, often a cluster of hard-to-understand symptoms, like brain fog, lethargy, depression, loss of taste and smell, etc. Yes, people were aware of damage to the heart and lungs, but that was often limited to the most severely affected, when this analysis is not specific to the worst cases.
I think it is important to recognize that most cases of long COVID occurred before vaccines were widely available. I do not know anyone who has developed long covid from a breakthrough infection.
The link provided by @JamesIgoe regarding cardiovascular disease states: “ Very few of the people in the study were vaccinated prior to developing COVID-19, as vaccines were not yet widely available at the time of enrollment.”
It also states:
“ Our findings highlight the serious long-term cardiovascular consequences of having a COVID-19 infection and emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as a way to prevent heart damage; this also underscores the importance of increasing accessibility to the vaccines in countries with limited resources,” Al-Aly said.”
The importance of vaccines cannot be overstated. I think Zeynep Tufekci’s article below is incredibly helpful in putting things in perspective.
Thanks for pointing that out. Obviously, I did not do a close reading.
BTW, I don’t know anyone that has long COVID either and only a few people that have been infected, but then again, my world is limited, to family, friends, and work colleagues, all of which were working remotely or retired. Almost all of my knowledge comes from what I’ve read about COVID, and little from experience, but even then, I don’t trust personal experience, although it can help inform one’s views.
Honestly, I am looking to defer infection as much as possible, since there are simply too many potential negative side effects. Although I had previously reposted an article regarding Rhesus monkeys and COVID infection on Twitter, with the exaggerated face of a Macaque as a bit of a joke - I did not post it here to avoid potentially offending sensibilities - it is just one more concern, however trifling it might seem to some. To your point, I don’t know if the men mentioned in a related NY Times article were vaccinated, but it would certainly lessen the severity and avoid consequences, but being vaccinated does not mean no risk, nor does it mean I won’t affect older friends and family.
The studies I’ve seen regarding long covid have shown that there is a substantial reduction in risk following vaccination. In addition, the current variant of the virus is less likely to cause severe illness anyway.
In any case, we’re the ones that have to live with the consequences of our choices. If you or anyone else chooses to continue wearing masks and avoiding situations, then that’s your choice. We all have different reasons for taking the approach we do.
Thanks for making me think again about continuing my mask wearing. At the first of this year, with the Omicron variant making the news, I ordered a supply of N95 masks and have used them when I leave my apartment, even to take my dog down to the street. Before that I wore the surgical masks, the type one expert called “decorative.”
It would be nice to to be free of that burden but it’s not that onerous. I can do it for a few more months.
County and state mask mandates have been lifted in my area. In my neighborhood still 99% of customers at the grocery store are wearing masks. In some less affluent areas of the county it’s still more than 80% wearing masks.
I plan to continue wearing a mask for the next couple of weeks.
My area was on me of the first walloped bu omicron in December. For a while test positivity was at 30%. It is now back down to 1-2%.
Private businesses can still require masks and/or vaccination. The most popular live music venues have gone dropped the mask requirement but do require proof of vaccination.
I am wearing mine. No one around me does, and no one seems to care that they do not. I draw more negative attention that I do, than others have ever drawn because they don’t.
I am an introvert, live in an area of 5 major colleges, and during the pandemic, socialized less, especially with adults that had teen and college-age kids. Being in my mid-seventies and diabetic put me in the high-risk category and even higher risk as I worked double shifts 5 days a week during the entire period and am a very poor mask wearer. I only wear a mask where absolutely required by policy.
We are social animals and looking back over the past couple of years, the near-total lack of socialization has taken a toll on my state of mind and it does not take much to irritate me and turn me into a grumpy old man. This is not the person I want to be, nor the type of life I want to lead.
As mask policies end, I am socializing much more, maskless, to get myself back to being my unusually always happy 100% positive self. I am double vaxed and boosted and have no issues with anyone around me being vaxed or unvaxed, masked, or maskless.
What others do is none of my business so let’s each of us do what we feel is best for ourselves, friends and families and I wish everyone on this forum a long, healthy, happy, peaceful life as the mask policies end.