Public health officials have supported mask wearing well beyond mass vaccination, and some advocated integrating them into post-COVID-19 life.
Most states implemented mandatory COVID-19 guidelines like restrictions on business capacities, social distancing guidelines and mask requirements.
“I think we do need a new culture of masks, at least any time not feeling well, and I think masks are in and handshakes out for the indefinite future,” former CDC official Dr. Tom Frieden said, CNBC reported.
Though it’s unclear when COVID-19 restrictions on normal gatherings and businesses will be lifted, Americans might need masks until 2022, American physician and immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CNN in February. Fauci said American’s should expect to wear masks until “there is virtually no threat” of contracting the virus.
Sen. Rand Paul criticized recommendations from health officials, Fox News reported.
“You want to get rid of vaccine hesitancy? Tell them you can quit wearing your mask after they get the vaccine,” Paul said. “You want people to get the vaccine? Give them a reward instead of telling them that the nanny state’s going to be there for three more years and you got to wear a mask forever. People don’t want to hear it. There’s no science behind it.”
It’s unlikely Americans will wear face masks after the COVID-19 pandemic, though they may be beneficial in crowded situations or during hospital visits, Time reported.
Most cities and states implemented mask mandates after scientists favored their use, though they are not 100% effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19, Time reported. Masks effectively contained respiratory droplets helping slow the spread of the virus and other diseases.
Oregon State Occupational Safety and Health Department Administrator Michael Wood proposed indefinite social distancing and mask requirements until they’re “no longer necessary to address the effects of the pandemic in the workplace,” for the state, the AP reported last week. Virginia first implemented permanent COVID-19 guidelines for workplaces in January.
Around 64,000 residents signed a petition in opposition of the proposed extension of the mandates. The petition pointed to states with less restrictive measures like Florida who reported similar infection rates as states where lockdowns and mask mandates are strictly enforced.
“These rules would continue to impose intrusive, burdensome and unnecessary reach of government into Oregon businesses, their employees, customer and client privacy, and customer freedoms to conduct commerce without government interference,” the petition, started by Jack Dresser, said.