Coronavirus: You’re vaccinated but Covid-19 is still raging. Should you mask up?

  • Easing of safety precautions and large number of unvaccinated people in many regions are contributing to spread of cases worldwide
  • US counties are requiring residents to wear masks indoors regardless of inoculation status, with experts saying this is a reasonable precaution
Associated Press |

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A sign encouraging people to wear a mask in Britain. Coronavirus cases worldwide have been surging, especially among the unvaccinated. Photo: AFP

Should vaccinated people mask up with the number of Covid-19 cases rising?

It depends on your situation, but masking in public can provide another layer of protection and help prevent the virus from spreading to others who aren’t shielded.

An easing of safety precautions and the large number of people who remain unvaccinated in many regions are contributing to the spread of cases around the world.

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The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has not changed its advice that fully vaccinated people can safely go without masks in most situations. But Dr Rochelle Walensky, the agency’s director, said local decisions on mask mandates could vary depending on vaccination levels and if there were surges.

Los Angeles County recently started requiring residents to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, for example, and officials in New Orleans are urging people to do the same.

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Though Covid-19 vaccines greatly reduce the chance of severe illness and death and remain effective against variants, some experts said wearing a mask was a reasonable precaution since it was still possible to get infected.

Masking could also help prevent the spread of the virus to children too young for vaccination and people with weak immune systems.

“Personally, I continue to wear a mask when going into public spaces outside of my household, both for my own protection and for the sake of my community,” said virus researcher Angela Rasmussen of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organisation at the University of Saskatchewan.

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Dr William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, said a “belt-and-suspenders” approach also made sense for people who were older or had health issues and were more vulnerable to getting severely ill if infected.

“I’m pretty healthy, but I do have grey hair. So when I go out to the supermarket, I’m masked,” Schaffner said.

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