We’ve been through a lot this year, and the COVID-19 pandemic reached a point where it seemed like wearing face masks would be part of our daily lives forever. We were now familiar with all types of masks and when to wear each one, from surgical masks and face shields, to N95 masks and KN95 masks.
Most people bought reusable cloth masks in bulk and wholesale since these are the easiest to find for sale online, and 3M N95 masks like the 3M 8210, 3M 8511, and 3M 1860 have been some of the most difficult ones to obtain in the United States.
However, the best ending to a year full of adversities has been the distribution of the first COVID-19 vaccines. People see this as the end to mask-wearing but, how true is this? Keep reading to find out.
Should you still wear a mask after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine? A doctor explains why the answer is yes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), so far, almost 2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the USA, with over 9.5 million doses already distributed. Many people think this means we can all stop wearing masks now, but this isn’t the case and it won’t be for some time now.
In an interview CNN did with an emergency physician called Dr. Leana Wen, who is also a medical analyst for CNN, she answered some of the most popular questions regarding the use of face masks and the vaccine.
The first question she answered was that, if the vaccine protects people from COVID-19, why do they still need to wear a mask? As she explains, there are things we still don’t know about the vaccine.
For example, even though the Pfizer vaccine has been proven to be effective to prevent symptomatic and severe cases, the studies still haven’t showed whether or not this vaccine prevents people carrying the virus from spreading it, even if they don’t have symptoms.
She cites this as the main reason why the use of face masks still needs to be our main line of defense against the spread of the virus. People who get the vaccine might not develop any symptoms and not end up at the hospital if they come in contact with the virus, which is great, but they might still carry it and spread it, and that is why people who receive the vaccine must still use face masks and practice social distancing, at least until the information about the benefits of the vaccine is better determined.
Dr. Wen also answered the question of whether we would need to wear masks in public forever. She says that, although this situation won’t last forever, we would have to keep wearing masks for a while longer, and there’s a reason for that. The estimated percentage of Americans that need to be vaccinated before herd immunity through vaccination is achieved is about 70%. This means that, when we reach that number of Americans vaccinated, we will reach a level of immunity in our population that would prevent the virus from spreading.
70% of Americans represents about 230 million people. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses, and it will take some time for them to produce the amount of doses for that many people. After production, the vaccine must be distributed and then given to people, and this takes time. The estimated timeline for most Americans to receive the vaccine is for late spring and early summer, and maybe then we could start seeing people without masks on.
Lastly, Dr. Wen answered the question of whether or not she would be wearing a mask after getting the vaccine, for which she answered a big ‘yes’. She said she will do that to protect not only herself but others as well. She explains that the vaccine helps your body detect and get rid of the virus, but it’s important to prevent the virus from reaching your body in the first place, and that is why you’ll see healthcare providers, who are some of the first people to get the vaccine, still wearing face masks and taking other measures to protect other people.
How face masks work with COVID-19
COVID-19 is a respiratory infectious disease caused by a species of coronavirus called the SARS-CoV-2. This virus is an airborne particle, which means it can travel through the air due to its very small size. When a person inhales them, either through the mouth or nose, the virus starts colonizing their airways and damaging them.
Face masks mainly prevent the respiratory fluid droplets from being released by the infected person, which prevents other people from inhaling the virus and becoming infected. This is the case with reusable cloth masks, which are the recommended type of mask used by the general public.
Other types of masks, like the N95 respirators and KN95 masks, provide higher virus protection since they can filter out very small particles like dust, smoke, and all types of viruses including the flu and the SARS-CoV-2. These antiviral properties make them crucial supplies in the healthcare field.
We would like to end this informative article by reminding our readers that, although the vaccine is an incredible breakthrough and provides hope for an end to this terrible situation, until the benefits of the vaccine become clearer, the use of face masks is still necessary. This includes not only healthcare workers and older people, but everyone, even kids as long as they’re above the age of 2.