Daily news reports bring heartening news almost every day in the fight against Covid-19, with vaccination rates rising nationwide and reported cases, hospitalizations, and deaths due to the virus on the decline. Unfortunately, however, some are taking this good news as a sign to start relaxing restrictions and letting our guards down. Such moves could sadly lead to disaster.
As Dr. Anthony Fauci, M.D., leading infectious disease specialist and chief medical advisor to President Biden, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, “I understand the need to want to get back to normality, but you’re only going to set yourself back if you just completely push aside the public health guidelines—particularly when we’re dealing with anywhere from fifty-five thousand to seventy thousand infections per day in the United States.” Fauci also noted restrictions should begin to be lifted only when that number falls below ten thousand infections daily, a rate not seen since March 22, 2020. Meanwhile, new Covid variants make the risk of infection and death even greater, like the B.1.1.7 (Alpha), which transmits 40 percent faster and is 50 percent more lethal according to a report in the New York Times. Initial study shows the emerging Indian triple mutation variant, B.1.617 (Delta) is even more lethal than the Alpha variant.
So, what can the general public do in this transitional time that is simultaneously more encouraging and more threatening? The simple answer is to wear the best masks you can possibly find—and even to double-mask, which increases the safety level even more.
Fortunately, unlike the mask shortages that were so widespread in the spring of 2020, high-quality medical-grade masks are now widely available at reasonable costs—even less than the price of a fancy coffee. While other people may begin to let their guards down, the smartest strategy for protecting your own life and the lives of those you care about is always to wear the best face masks you can find whenever you’re out in public and coming in touch—socially distanced, of course—with other people who may or may not be taking the same precautions.
Masks have the power to save lives. Protect yourself and those you care about by buying and wearing the best-quality masks you can find.