10 votes

Are outdoor mask mandates still necessary?

14 comments

  1. [12]
    Gaywallet
    Link
    With how few people are actually following guidelines, I think it's not the greatest idea to introduce even more confusion. Yes, people are removing their masks when they sit down, but that's...

    With how few people are actually following guidelines, I think it's not the greatest idea to introduce even more confusion.

    Yes, people are removing their masks when they sit down, but that's because tables are socially distanced. If you aren't required to mask outside, what's to stop you from getting up in someone's personal bubble with nothing to stop your own transmission particles? The fact that someone conflates the two shows the absolute failure of public health education and is a highlight on specifically why we should not be continually adjusting recommendations and mandates.

    11 votes
    1. [9]
      skybrian
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      The mask mandates will have to come to an end at some point, so it seems worth thinking about when? I think California is close to the end, but a couple more weeks of seeing infections drop would...

      The mask mandates will have to come to an end at some point, so it seems worth thinking about when? I think California is close to the end, but a couple more weeks of seeing infections drop would make it more obvious.

      The credibility/confusion argument can go either way. Having rules that no longer make sense doesn’t help with credibility, but changing them too often doesn’t help either. I think we need to treat people as adults by making recommendations that aren’t too off from what a reasonable person would choose based on the scientific evidence.

      The confusion over who is eligible for vaccines suggests that maybe health authorities need to coordinate better about getting the word out, though.

      8 votes
      1. [8]
        Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        California has a group of medical professionals working on setting appropriate dates based on many factors such as how many people are vaccinated, how many confirmed cases we are seeing, ICU...

        so it seems worth thinking about when? I think California is close to the end, but a couple more weeks of seeing infections drop would make it more obvious.

        California has a group of medical professionals working on setting appropriate dates based on many factors such as how many people are vaccinated, how many confirmed cases we are seeing, ICU capacity and other considerations. I shall leave the heavy thinking to them, as they are more qualified than I am.

        I think we need to treat people adults by making recommendations that aren’t too off from what a reasonable person would choose based on the scientific evidence.

        Agreed, and the general medical consensus is that vaccinated people and those who have had covid before should still mask so I am inclined to agree with them until we reach a point at which they believe it is safe enough to start easing these restrictions.

        The confusion over who is eligible for vaccines suggests that maybe health authorities need to coordinate better about getting the word out, though.

        Not only that but there's been a heavy misinformation campaign going on about the risks of vaccinating which is making the public health messaging and education more difficult. I think we will likely learn a lot in the coming days about what we could have done better.

        6 votes
        1. [7]
          teaearlgraycold
          Link Parent
          I guess that a large reason for that is social. Not that that isn't important, though. If we have 2/3 of the population vaccinated and those people all decide they don't need to wear masks anymore...

          the general medical consensus is that vaccinated people and those who have had covid before should still mask so I am inclined to agree with them until we reach a point at which they believe it is safe enough to start easing these restrictions.

          I guess that a large reason for that is social. Not that that isn't important, though.

          If we have 2/3 of the population vaccinated and those people all decide they don't need to wear masks anymore then the remaining 1/3, which will disproportional include covid skeptics, won't have any social pressure on them to wear masks anymore. We'd see a tangible spike in cases.

          I'm sure it's still possible for vaccinated people to occasionally spread covid-19. But I'd guess that is a very small chance given how effective these vaccines are. To go from "if you have a cloth mask over your mouth you're allowed in this store with dubious ventilation" to "if you are fully vaccinated to this specific disease with a miracle vaccine that is 95% effective you still need to cover your mouth" doesn't make sense in a purely medical sense. It's all about social pressure.

          6 votes
          1. [4]
            DanBC
            Link Parent
            Vaccines reduce, but do not eliminate, the risk of getting covid. They do work well to reduce the severity of the illness. This means people are confidant - "I don't have symptoms, and I've been...

            I'm sure it's still possible for vaccinated people to occasionally spread covid-19.

            Vaccines reduce, but do not eliminate, the risk of getting covid. They do work well to reduce the severity of the illness. This means people are confidant - "I don't have symptoms, and I've been vaccinated" - but they don't know that they're covid free unless they get tested. We know that vaccinated people get covid; we know people who've got covid can spread it.

            https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/covid-vaccine-variant-infected-cases-b1833327.html

            7 votes
            1. babypuncher
              Link Parent
              Nothing will ever fully eliminate the risk of getting covid. Rules and guidelines should be based on a fair assessment of how much risk is posed to the public as a whole. If being vaccinated...

              Nothing will ever fully eliminate the risk of getting covid. Rules and guidelines should be based on a fair assessment of how much risk is posed to the public as a whole. If being vaccinated reduces the overall risk factor to or below that posed by influenza, then social distancing and mask mandates start to look pretty silly.

              I don't think we're there yet in the US, just based on the number of daily deaths. But we are getting closer. At some point we might have to ask ourselves if it is worth continuing to mask up and social distance for the sake of protecting those who refuse to get vaccinated. It is really important that we get as many people vaccinated as possible, because I don't think any of us wants it to come to that.

              4 votes
            2. [2]
              teaearlgraycold
              Link Parent
              I want to know the numbers. If you’re fully vaccinated how likely are you to avoid infection under scenarios where an unvaccinated person would get infected? If you’re infected and fully...

              I want to know the numbers. If you’re fully vaccinated how likely are you to avoid infection under scenarios where an unvaccinated person would get infected? If you’re infected and fully vaccinated, how likely are you to be infectious?

              The headline of the article you linked (content appears to be walled off?) mentions cases where people had only their first dose. The second dose is the one meant to instill your body with a large amount of antibodies. It’s well known that a first dose immune system isn’t nearly as well protected as a second dose immune system.

              2 votes
              1. Gaywallet
                Link Parent
                Different immune systems respond differently - a strong immune response might indicate less spread, but that also depends on the strain of the virus. Extrinsic health factors such as stress and...

                If you’re fully vaccinated how likely are you to avoid infection under scenarios where an unvaccinated person would get infected? If you’re infected and fully vaccinated, how likely are you to be infectious?

                Different immune systems respond differently - a strong immune response might indicate less spread, but that also depends on the strain of the virus. Extrinsic health factors such as stress and exposure to other infections also change response. Environmental extrinsic factors change regularly and differ so much from location to location (compare masking in California to Florida, for example), making this even more difficult to measure. A combination of human variation and a very complicated world makes it quite difficult to state without large enough studies and n-values so as to help eliminate the differences these variations can induce in a system.

                3 votes
          2. [2]
            Gaywallet
            Link Parent
            No need to guess! Scientists are studying this and can weigh in better when there's more information. This is an active area of study. Please see the following CDC brief for a summary of current...

            I'm sure it's still possible for vaccinated people to occasionally spread covid-19. But I'd guess that is a very small chance given how effective these vaccines are.

            No need to guess! Scientists are studying this and can weigh in better when there's more information. This is an active area of study. Please see the following CDC brief for a summary of current knowledge.

            3 votes
            1. teaearlgraycold
              Link Parent
              Scientists are very careful not to make any claims unless they have lots of 9s. I still take this as a strong indicator. But it is best to wait and see what the actual numbers are. Maybe they...

              A growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection and potentially less likely to transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others. However, further investigation is ongoing.

              Scientists are very careful not to make any claims unless they have lots of 9s. I still take this as a strong indicator. But it is best to wait and see what the actual numbers are. Maybe they aren't super impressive.

              Thankfully I still have 5 weeks until I'm fully vaccinated. Maybe by then I'll be cleared by the CDC to live my best mask-free life!

              3 votes
    2. OhGarraty
      Link Parent
      I agree. People can be profoundly lacking in critical thinking. If experts tell people one thing, then tell them a different thing in a week or a month, it erodes what little trust they had in the...

      I agree. People can be profoundly lacking in critical thinking. If experts tell people one thing, then tell them a different thing in a week or a month, it erodes what little trust they had in the experts. Some people may just give up following guidelines altogether. We can't assume everyone understands when it is and is not okay to mask up, and it's better to err on the side of safety, even when it inconveniences people that do get it.

      4 votes
    3. NoApollonia
      Link Parent
      I agree honestly. Some people at least will just get confused and/or not care. Seems we had this issue last year when the CDC first said not to wear masks in like Jan/Feb and then all of a sudden...

      I agree honestly. Some people at least will just get confused and/or not care. Seems we had this issue last year when the CDC first said not to wear masks in like Jan/Feb and then all of a sudden said to wear masks.....a lot of people fought it until they were required to wear them.

      2 votes
  2. [3]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. teaearlgraycold
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Absolutely. No place should have allowed indoor dining this past year (unless the building provides shade more so than walls). My conclusion on when to mask up can be summarized with a table:...

      You can't ask people to wear masks in public but then let them sit down and congregate indoors unmasked just because they're eating.

      Absolutely. No place should have allowed indoor dining this past year (unless the building provides shade more so than walls).

      My conclusion on when to mask up can be summarized with a table:

      Indoor w/ Poor Airflow Indoor w/ Good Airflow Outdoor
      Near Others N95/KN95 Any kind of mask Any kind of mask
      Others in the area N95/KN95 Any kind of mask (social requirement) No mask
      Alone N95/KN95 unless no one else has been there in 3 hours No mask No mask

      The risk calculation comes down to how likely I am to breath in a lot of air that other people have breathed out. I'm sure inhaling a small amount of breath from an infected person doesn't have enough of a viral load to likely cause infection, so I accept that risk when there might be people seated, unmasked, 6 ft away from me outdoors.

      If you're indoors and there aren't a lot of open windows or an air purging system in place you need to have a mask that actually performs filtering. Cloth masks are always better than nothing but today KN95/N95 availability is good so I buy and use those from reputable brands. If I feel that I'm not likely to inhale a breath-full of someone else's air then I think mostly about blocking moisture from my own breath and cloth is fine.

      10 votes
    2. DanBC
      Link Parent
      This is a misunderstanding of what the CDC is saying. Fomites are still risky. They're just not that risky for the general public walking about in shops. People can't say "masks work and the...

      It's also astounding that it's taken as long as it has for people to declare that all the surface cleaning has been basically pointless (not that hygiene isn't good - but cleaning that counter does nothing against a respiratory virus).

      This is a misunderstanding of what the CDC is saying. Fomites are still risky. They're just not that risky for the general public walking about in shops. People can't say "masks work and the public needs to wear them in the street" and simultaneously say "fomites are irrelevant" -- that's an incoherent position.

      2 votes