Don’t Ditch the Mask

As vaccinations increase, we must continue to protect one another by maintaining virus protocols

With millions of people becoming fully vaccinated and even more to come, the United States is becoming safer when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cases are decreasing, and the virus is becoming more of an afterthought. Although we have been making great strides in defending against the pandemic, there is no reason why we should ease up now.

Some people believe that once you are vaccinated, there is no need to be cautious or even wear a mask. People think that vaccination makes them completely immune to contracting or passing on the virus. This is not the case; the three vaccines currently in use in the United States, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, have effectiveness rates ranging from 85 percent to 95 percent. Scientists have not yet stated that vaccinated people cannot transmit the virus. Because of this, there is still a real chance of someone contracting and spreading the virus even after they are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 case statistics have shown that states that have lifted their mask mandate have a significantly larger number of cases than states that still mandate masks even for those fully vaccinated. Why would we lift restrictions when the virus is still so prominent? Weekly cases have decreased by more than 65 percent over the past three months, but they are in great danger of rising once again because people think the pandemic is nearly over. 

Currently, 18 states have lifted their statewide mask mandates: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, Kansas, Utah and Wisconsin. Thankfully, Ohio is not included in this list but will likely be very soon. If Ohio does lift the mask mandate, the responsible thing to do as an Ohioan and resident of this country is to continue wearing a mask and continue being as safe as possible, even if you are fully vaccinated. Not following established restrictions not only puts you at risk of contracting and spreading the virus, but it also sets a bad example for those who are not vaccinated and may incline them to not follow restrictions.

Although the pandemic is nearing a close, we must stay disciplined and as safe as possible. This means continuing to wear a mask, staying socially distant whenever possible, and avoiding large gatherings to the best of your ability.

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