Not everyone ready to give up masks despite CDC decision

Washington: A day after the top US health agency eased Covid-19 mask restrictions, many people could still be seen walking around Washington wearing face masks.

Among them was a student, Chloe, who said she was fully vaccinated – but was wearing her face mask anyway.

“I think the announcement... was definitely a shock to a lot of people. It definitely was a shock to me, ” the student, who declined to give her last name, said on Friday.

Chloe, 20, viewed the CDC announcement as “hopeful” but said she plans to keep wearing her mask for a while longer.

“If I see more people not wearing masks, it’ll make me feel comfortable not wearing masks, ” she said.

“And then just seeing the number of people who are vaccinated in the US will definitely help. If that number goes up, I might feel more comfortable taking it off. But it’s really important to recognise that the pandemic’s still going on.”

Currently, only 36% of people are fully vaccinated in the United States, where the pandemic has killed more than 580,000.

“Yesterday, I was not really into the idea of going maskless, ” said Lauren.

“Even though I’m vaccinated, what if there’s some slight chance that I’m around somebody who’s sick? A non-vaccinated person?”

The 36-year-old consultant, who also chose to only give her first name, said she plans to keep her mask handy when she’s out and decide whether to put it on based on a “day-to-day, even hour-to-hour feeling”.

“It has kind of become a part of our face. I feel kind of bare without it, ” Lauren said, adding her mask sometimes can feel like a “security blanket”.

Health experts say it’s normal to feel anxious about returning to normal life, given how hard the last year has been.

But there is such a thing as being too careful, warns Dr Amesh Adalja: “The science is showing that if you’re fully vaccinated, the virus is going to treat you very differently, so you can act very differently.” — AFP

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