According to the California Department of Public Health, starting on Feb. 16, wearing masks indoors will only be required for unvaccinated people. Some exceptions include Santa Clara and Los Angeles Counties.
But Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrrer said the timeline for lifting the mask mandate in the region has been accelerated to a likely start date of March 16.
So why is Los Angeles County trailing behind the rest of the state?
After all, it does seem like the general opinion toward wearing masks is shifting.
Part of the problem might be the lack of clear enforcement guidelines behind mask mandates.
While Mayor Garcetti has emphasized that under Governor Gavin Newsom’s “Safer at Home” order, persons not wearing masks can face a fine of up to $1,000 or six months in jail, the reality is that such cases of punitive action are few and far between.
Enforcement aside, the downsides of wearing masks for two years have been severely downplayed.
In an article for the Association of American Medical Colleges, Zina Jawadi writes about her experience going through medical school as a student with significant hearing loss.
“Finding and managing the right technologies consumes extensive time and energy, and is often exhausting and logistically challenging,” Jawadi wrote.
But not only students with disabilities are suffering from the pandemic’s impact. Masks aside, learning loss is a real thing and has affected all students since the start of the pandemic.
Mask mandates may be linked to providing a false sense of security in some.
According to an article published in The British Medical Journal (BMJ), the authors found that respiratory virus infection rates are significantly higher when using cloth-based masks as opposed to a lower risk of infection associated with medical masks.
Though the CDC has made statements, no clear state mandates were ever enforced specifying what type of masks must be worn. Some people might think that wearing a piece of cloth or a bandana over their face is just as effective as a medical-grade mask.
In the end, the masking mandates are in place because many are reluctant to get vaccinated. Once everyone has the vaccine, masks might become irrelevant again.
So please, stay safe and get vaccinated. The return to normalcy might come soon.