Masking off ramp

States are beginning to either lift their indoor mask requirements or have target dates to do so. I just listened to our governor and changes are in the works here in Washington. I also know that many public health people, including the CDC, aren’t on board with changing the mask policies quite yet.

I’m also aware that if mask requirements end, good luck bringing them back anytime soon!

As requirements are lifted, I’ve been thinking about what this will mean for me and others who are now accustomed to wearing masks to protect them from COVID, the flu, etc.

While I am fully vaxxed and boosted, I am over 65 and have co-morbidities.  Omicron seems to be targeting the ‘elderly’, even those who are vaccinated (I haven’t been able to determine how many of the current cases were boosted).

Regardless of requirements, for now I will continue to mask up with a KN 95 or N95 mask while indoors and have one with me at all times in case I run into crowds outdoors.

I will try and shop when stores aren’t as crowded. Whenever possible, I am choosing outdoor activities and outdoor dining. If that isn’t possible (it rains here), I will try and choose restaurants and venues with mask AND vaccine requirements.

I have stockpiled antigen tests and won’t hesitate to use them!

Other than taking these precautions, I will get back in the game.

We have travel plans in the works, including Italy this spring. Italy just lifted their outdoor mask mandate, but masks are still required indoors. And vaccination is mandatory for everyone over 50.

What I wish would happen:

It would be great if policy makers and public health officials could land on 1 or 2 metrics before fully lifting indoor mask requirements, such as a decline in hospitalizations.

I wish that mask wearers would also cover their noses!

I wish that every eligible adult and child would be fully vaccinated and boosted (really wishful thinking on my part). We know Omicron is particularly lethal to people over 75. I can’t find current data on how many people over 65 have gotten their boosters ☹, but not nearly enough! 

“Run, don’t walk, to go get your boosters,”

Dr. Rais Vohra, Fresno County (CA) Health Officer, 1/7/22

Allene

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