N95 & KN95 masks still our best defense
With millions of vaccine shots being done each day, epidemiologists are warning that it’s too soon for states to ease up on public COVID-19 measures without risking another surge. With approximately 51 million people in the United States that have been fully vaccinated, experts still agree we’re nowhere near herd immunity.
Maintaining our mitigation measures such as wearing masks (recommended N95 & KN95 masks)should remain in effect as we still are learning so many things about dangerous variants and their effects on vaccine efficacy as well as learning more about why some with vaccinations still can catch and potentially spread Covid-19.
Nationwide the number of daily cases has again plateaued so this isn’t a good sign as “They should keep going down and down,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday. “We’ve seen this before: When you plateau like that, there really is a danger of a resurgence.”
Meanwhile, there are worrying signs the pandemic may be accelerating in some parts of the country, with 20 states now reporting more than a 10% increase in the number of new cases. Experts agree there are myriad number of reasons it’s too soon to ease mandates such as, the new and more contagious COVID-19 variants, undetected cases, and still worries about long COVID.
There are some new versions of the virus now circulating across the globe have developed worrying mutations that could help them spread faster and farther.
The concern for asymptomatic spread also affects another part of the equation. Experts say that beyond the variants, there’s another worrying reason it may be too early to stop our mitigation measures such as masks and social distancing: the risk of long-haul symptoms in survivors. Although older adults are more likely to die of COVID-19, younger adults can be spreaders – and may develop long-term health problems that doctors are still working to fully understand.
While more than 70% of adults 65 and older have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, lower-risk younger adults are still at risk for complications from an infection.
This isn’t a situation where the outcomes are binary, either you’re unlucky and you die or you have a mild case, and you get over it. We continue to learn more about the long-term effects. Even recently the death of Texas Roadhouse founder and CEO Kent Taylor. He died by suicide last week after suffering from unbearable chronic symptoms related to the virus, including tinnitus, a ringing in the ears commonly reported in long COVID.
It’s estimated that 10 to 40% of people who are infected may get those longer-term consequences, some of which can affect the heart, some of which can affect a person’s nervous system.
A large part of returning to normal will likely depend on personal responsibility. Many communities are still working together to require masks and reopen safely, removing politics from the equation. We all have to take some responsibility for our health and community responsibility to wear a mask and continue some levels of social distancing.
There’s a public health saying that there isn’t a “peeing section” in the swimming pool, so we all need to continue to do our part.
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