ATLANTA – Public health experts say Americans should continue wearing masks in public and social distancing until 80% of the population is vaccinated for COVID-19.
According to the CDC, not enough information is currently available to say if or when CDC will stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide in real-world conditions before making that decision, the CDC website explains. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.
Another factor – even after you are vaccinated it could be possible to contract the virus. You could contract the virus from someone else and show no symptoms as your immune system, now stronger thanks to the vaccination, fights it off. During that time you might infect others.
The primary reason for wearing masks in public is to protect others in case you are contagious. According to the CDC, about 40% of those with COVID-19 have no symptoms and may not know they are infected. These COVID-19 positive people could unknowingly spread the virus to others. Scientific studies have found the virus spread primarily in the droplets of moisture that leave your mouth and nose when you talk, cough or sneeze. A mask catches those droplets so they do not land on others.
“While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic,” the CDC advises.
To protect yourself and others, the CDC recommends everyone follow these recommendations:
• Wear a mask over your nose and mouth;
• Stay at least 6 feet away from others;
• Avoid crowds;
• Avoid poorly ventilated spaces;
• Wash your hands often.