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COVID--give up mask or not--input WWYD?


sbgrace
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I would love some input into my family situation:

We live in a low vax, largely anti-mask area. My community is currently declining from our worst wave of infections.

My question: My teens are the only ones indoor masking in most of their activies and social situations. Both would like to stop masking soon. Should I just tell them it's fine to stop when they are ready or in whatever situations they want and assume we may get infected? My thought is that, given this is going to just continue, we will get infected at some point. Maybe it's better to get it sooner--closer to our vaccines and grandparent boosters--than later? Essentially--given relatively low risk and that this is going to be endemic, is it time to give up? 

Risk background: My immediate family is vaccinated, with 2nd doses in April. My parents and in laws all received the Pfizer booster shot last week--so soon I no longer have to worry as much about infecting them, which has been my largest worry in this whole thing. 

My husband and I are late 40's but with no known risk factors for severe outcomes-though I'm unclear on how much vaccines protect us from long covid. One son I worry infection might aggravate his anxiety.  I'm not sure booster doses will even be wise in teens given the myocarditis risk.  I don't expect to be offered boosters soon anyway.

We have a long planned (rescheduled last year) vacation to the Grand Canyon coming up in December. I would hate to get COVID during that trip. 

I would really appreciate thoughts.  WWYD 

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Honestly, it sounds like you know what the right thing is, but you’re trying to justify giving up trying.
 

Only you can determine how important the health and safety of your family and community is to you, or how you would feel if anyone gets sick—or worse, if you spread it to others even unknowingly. Do you feel like giving into peer pressure during a pandemic is a good message to send your kids? Do you feel like long Covid or any number of long term health struggles is worth it?
 

Your kids are almost adults; it’s hard at this age to tell them what to do (they won’t anyway, if they don’t want to) but they are definitely old enough to understand the seriousness of not taking public health protocols seriously. 

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18 minutes ago, TexasProud said:

Yeah, but it is so so hard to be the only ones. 

My daughter is one of 6 girls in her (ETA: high school in a community where no one masks and they live in the Land of Denial) school  and one faculty member to mask (and she wears the N99 Totobobo mask I told her she wouldn't need this year because duh! people were going to vaccinate and make masks moot!  LOLSOB)  It's not easy.  But if we want to hew to our moral/health principles, this is what we do.  It is hard, no doubt.  I wish you luck and G-dspeed in your decisions.

Edited by YaelAldrich
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I understand your situation. I’m in a low vaccination area as well and it’s not going to change. Fortunately for now we have a mask mandate in our county due to the delta surge. Assuming your teens are on the older side I’d explain the risks and let them decide for themselves. It’s not ideal but if you’re in a stubbornly low vaccination area it’s not going to change in the next few year.  Being the only 16/17 year old masking in social situations for potential years may be asking too much. 

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Just now, YaelAldrich said:

My daughter is one of 6 girls in her school  and one faculty member to mask (and she wears the N99 Totobobo mask I told her she wouldn't need this year because duh! people were going to vaccinate and make masks moot!  LOLSOB)  It's not easy.  But if we want to hew to our moral/health principles, this is what we do.  It is hard, no doubt.  I wish you luck and G-dspeed in your decisions.

Well I don’t have a choice. My mom has stage 4 cancer and after filming ends this week the only people I will see is mom/ stepdad and husband. But yes I am the only one in a mask anywhere.  Teens just have to be ready to lose friends. May not be fair but it is what it is. 

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Maybe discuss a reasonable case threshold at which point you would consider masking to be no longer necessary.  You mention your community is still coming down from a Covid wave (if I read you correctly).  Now would not be the time to stop masking, but maybe when it goes down to about where it was before the Delta wave started?

I also believe it's teens' choice whether or not they mask, in absence of a mandate.  I would provide my opinion and reasoning and example, and let them choose.  The exception being when going around high-risk individuals.

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There is SO much pressure to conform with what others are doing right now, and, at least where I live, what others are doing is not masking. But the other posters are framing this correctly. Do you feel that it is best health practice to mask? Do you feel that it is others-centered to mask? If so, then continue to mask regardless of what others are doing or not doing.  

There is wisdom in caution and there is folly in ignoring obvious risks.  Proverbs 22: 3 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

Are we weary? Yes. Do we give up? I vote no.

Edited by cintinative
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We are in a low vax/high Covid area, no mask mandate. We continue to mask. Covid is just too unpredictable to simply "get it over with".

I do not agree with a pp that I would give teen kids the freedom to chose whether they want to mask or not. Their behavior affects their own well-being and that of my household. I have given my underage teen kids a lot of freedom, but have had rules in place where behavior could be harmful to themselves and others, for example around safe driving, or not competing in MMA while a minor. 

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I'd toss them. Your neighbors don't want your "protection" and you are vaxxed and likely to be fine if you get it. It's just a habit at this point, a vestige of an old approach that is no longer where it's panning out.

What's the weather like at the Grand Canyon in December? This is going to be like anything else; you could get ANY bug right before an important trip. Take your zinc/C/D, drink fluids, hope for the best.

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I am still masking and will require masking in all my classes (and covers for wind instruments) until kids can be fully vaccinated.  I have had more students sick every single week of this term so far than I had total all last year. There is NO WAY I am dropping masking now!

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2 hours ago, sbgrace said:

My teens are the only ones indoor masking in most of their activies and social situations.

Your teens are vaccinated and they are the only ones masking in their circles?  No, I would not make them mask.  Their masks will not protect them from an unmasked covid spreader. I know that my opinion is not the norm here on this board.  We are all vaccinated and do not mask unless required or requested specifically by someone in our presence. I see no reason to and there are mental health implications for my daughter in continuing to mask. 

 

ETA - And also, DS picked up a cold in taekwondo camp last month when every person there was fully masked. They are pointless for me and my family at this point. 

 

Edited by kristin0713
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Honestly, we don’t/wouldn’t mask in that situation. We are all vaccinated. I am not anti-mask but I am not convinced that masking when no one else does is much help and we are not so high risk that I feel like we need every single precaution possible. I’d be happy to have my teen mask if everyone else is (or even most are) but I don’t think my teen masking in an unmasked crowd is helpful enough to make it worthwhile. If I was extremely cautious/worried about my family contracting it we would stay home. 
 

We do still mask at times. Always when requested and often when we decide it is prudent. I mask to lead our church’s middle school youth group even though most of the kids don’t because I am in a leadership position and setting an example. 
 

We are in a largely unvaxxed area. Our immediate family and more high risk folks we love are all vaccinated. We have very little to zero contact with kids too young to be vaccinated. We are on the downside of the delta curve. Our community never shut down or masked. The world marched on without us long enough. We were the lone maskers long enough. I would be happy for all the teens in a group to mask (some of our activities in the next town over are like this) but if no one else does I will not make my vaccinated teen mask. 
 

I don’t even have super strong feelings about this. Just posting an unpopular opinion for balance.

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2 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

I am not anti-mask but I am not convinced that masking when no one else does is much help and we are not so high risk that I feel like we need every single precaution possible.

Same. I am not an anti-masker.  We masked until we were all fully vaccinated and the mandate was lifted. And I really, truly believe that we are not putting anyone else at risk by not masking. We got through a direct household exposure last summer (breakthrough case) without any of us getting it. DH and I got tested for antibodies and they are pretty high.  I'm not going to mask or make my kids mask just to "keep up the cause" when it will make no difference. 

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Are any of their friends vaccinated? How big are the groups they are socializing with? 
DS is not living with us now, but until he moved a month ago he didn’t mask. We are in a low vax area, but his friends are mostly all vaccinated and they all socialized without masks. 
I mask in stores, in businesses, but have limited my social interactions to vaccinated groups and we do not mask anymore. 
I take it on a case by case basis, doing things most important to me and my family. No teens I know are masking on social situations. 

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A few thoughts:

1. I know many people who have been vaccinated who are getting ill. They aren't going onto ventilators, but they are needing inhalers, a couple of weeks off of work, and they are pretty dang miserable.  If you're good with that, great, but a lot of people don't have that kind of sick time to burn at work.

2. I would consider whether you will have peace of mind if someone does get hospitalized or if any older or vulnerable person does because of your family's exposure to them. We kind of all have sliding scales on this one.  We have our vaccinated kids in school this year knowing there's a good shot this will come home and expose me (vulnerable) and my youngest (not eligible for vaccine yet).  They are masking, but we know that doesn't eliminate all risk. This was something we all had to vocalize because my dd is terrified she will bring something home that will hospitalize me. For her peace of mind, this needed to be something that I chose, iykwim. 

3. I would consider the impact on your community's healthcare system.  Currently here, a lot of cancer care, heart operations, and other life-improving/life-saving procedures are all on hold because the hospitals are overwhelmed.  

4. I would remember that just because I am vaccinated, even if I get covid, I may get covid yet again in the future.  I don't think this is a once and done for everyone. There seems to be a subset of people who have somewhat dysfunctional immune systems. 

For us, we are not masking around my parents and some other extended family when we see them (which is rarely) because my dad is now deaf and lipreads. I'm not a militant must-always-mask. I understand why some families may choose differently. But on the whole, for my family, we all mask. In fact, we all wear N95s or KF94s everywhere because we're masking to protect ourselves more than we are masking to protect others since there is so much disease transmission happening locally. I get really frustrated by people who wear two layers of cotton, mostly around their chin, and then complain that masks don't work well when they get covid. 

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I've wavered on this too. We also live in an anti-mask/low vax area. My daughter's friends have labeled me "very strict" and "crazy" because I require my family to wear a mask in public regardless of what others around us are doing. We also avoid indoor places where no one is masking (or leave quickly). I honestly don't know why people here think it's safe not to mask. Our case numbers are still high and our hospitals are struggling. Since only about 4 out of every 10 people are vaccinated in my area, I just do not feel safe in places where no one is wearing a mask.

It's no use being mad about it. But I'm not giving up either! I'm trying to accept that I can't control what others around me are doing (or if they're even looking out for the common good). I can, however, control how my family responds to this situation. I'm fairly confident that wearing a mask while vaccinated is the nicest, safest thing I and my family can do for our neighbors. Even (especially?) those neighbors who aren't doing anything to protect themselves or others. I hope one day my kids will see it that way too: we're not just wearing masks to protect ourselves. We're doing it because ANYTHING we can do to lower case numbers and help end this pandemic is the right thing!

I still feel like wearing a mask is worth it. The CDC is recommending it. My kids' pediatrician still recommends it. Our local hospital recommends it. The department of public health recommends it. The only people I know who aren't advising us to continue masking are some politicians in my state. I definitely believe the former are better equipped to advise during a pandemic than the latter. It might be different in your state. But if your area is anti-mask/low vax, then the medical establishment would probably still recommend masks until vaccine rates are up, even if (right now) case numbers are decreasing. 

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7 hours ago, kristin0713 said:

 

 

ETA - And also, DS picked up a cold in taekwondo camp last month when every person there was fully masked. They are pointless for me and my family at this point. 

 

But were they truly fully masked?

How many had them under their nose, under their chin, gaping at the sides?

How did the camp manage water breaks and meals?

Were they all gathering outside unmasked?

 

I wouldn't be surprised if 'fully masked' isn't anywhere near fully masked.

My anecdote speaks to the opposite of yours. My daughter was the only person masked, and she was the one who didn't get the cold that went through the group.

 

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30 minutes ago, chocolate-chip chooky said:

 

I wouldn't be surprised if 'fully masked' isn't anywhere near fully masked.

My anecdote speaks to the opposite of yours. My daughter was the only person masked, and she was the one who didn't get the cold that went through the group.

 

Yes, my faith in masks has skyrocketed recently. I spent 7 hours indoors within ten feet, sometimes less, of an unmasked coughing/vomiting Covid positive person, then another few hours with her across a hall from me with a nebulizer running, no door. Obviously she could not mask, poor woman. But I kept my well fitted N95 on, didn’t touch my eyes, and no Covid. 

Edited by Spryte
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28 minutes ago, MercyA said:

Yeah, none of us were sick for a year and a half when we masked carefully everywhere. We used to get every little thing, seemed like.

Yeah. My 4 year old is in for a rude awakening when he finally gets his first cold after all this. He hasn't had one since pre-Covid, when he was two, so he has no memory. None of us in the house have had anything since this started (have never gone in public unmasked indoors since end of Feb 2020).

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This guy is on the more worried side of qualified health people.  I hope he’s wrong, but it’s worth reading through some of his perspective so you at least know what worst case scenario basically is.  In short he thinks Covid causes b and T cells to attack the body, that subsequent infections may be worse or similar, not more mild and that there are likely cognitive effects.  Like I said, he’s more of a worst case scenario guy, but from what I can figure out from Google searching he’s also highly qualified to talk about it.  
 

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9 hours ago, chocolate-chip chooky said:

But were they truly fully masked?

 

I don’t know, but my kid is pretty consistent. He actually doesn’t mind wearing a mask in Taekwondo. And this studio has been very strict all along. (They are still doing temp checks, etc.) They did have breaks for lunch. I’d say it was as consistent as any camp could be, which of course is not going to be perfect when you put a bunch of kids together. He still got a cold . 🤷‍♀️ I certainly don’t begrudge anyone for wearing one or roll my eyes when I see someone masking. I just don’t think there is enough of a benefit *for us* to continue masking if it’s not required, especially if no one else is wearing one. 

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8 hours ago, Spryte said:

Yes, my faith in masks has skyrocketed recently. I spent 7 hours indoors within ten feet, sometimes less, of an unmasked coughing/vomiting Covid positive person, then another few hours with her across a hall from me with a nebulizer running, no door. Obviously she could not mask, poor woman. But I kept my well fitted N95 on, didn’t touch my eyes, and no Covid. 

But you are also vaccinated, correct? My dad was sleeping in the same room as my mom during her breakthrough case. He did not catch it. We did not mask in the house. We did try to stay away from her. It was our vaccines that kept us from getting covid. 
 

I probably sound like an anti-masker. I promise you that I am not. I just don’t see benefit anymore personally for us. We are vaxxed with high antibodies. People that are not vaxxed should wear one. (Actually they should GO GET VAXXED.) People that are sick should *stay home*.  Me wearing one when others are the spreaders is a drop in the bucket. 

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The worse case scenarios of how bad Covid can be and how much we do not want to catch Covid are, to me, an argument for opting out of an activity completely, not for being the lone mask wearer in a group of unmasked/unvaxxed folks. If it is that bad and we are going to suffer long term effects, etc, then exposing myself or my child with just a mask for protection isn’t a good choice either.

I get it. Something (a mask) is better than nothing. But then we are masking forever. Because our community is not ever going to reach a certain vaccination threshold to be safe and others don’t take precautions. If we will be seeing someone high risk or have a big event coming up and we don’t want to miss for Covid our risk calculation would have us staying home. So I am not a Covid denier or anti-mask. I just would not see the lone fabric or disposable mask in a group of unvaxxed unmasked teens to be enough protection to make sense. 
 

We had an event we felt was important enough to take some chances and participate last winter. I wore the best mask I had and I put a filter in it. I still got the heck out of the crowd and stayed away from people and went outside every chance I got. Because the mask was the last chance tool I had. But I didn’t feel I could rely on it to keep me safe. 
 

I guess I remain unconvinced that a lone mask does much to protect a wearer. Vaccination and staying away from people are the big ones. A mask in a group where everyone is masked makes sense. A lone mask for a vaccinated person around a bunch of unvaxxed/unmasked people? I’m just not convinced that one is worth it. 

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42 minutes ago, kristin0713 said:

But you are also vaccinated, correct? My dad was sleeping in the same room as my mom during her breakthrough case. He did not catch it. We did not mask in the house. We did try to stay away from her. It was our vaccines that kept us from getting covid. 
 

I probably sound like an anti-masker. I promise you that I am not. I just don’t see benefit anymore personally for us. We are vaxxed with high antibodies. People that are not vaxxed should wear one. (Actually they should GO GET VAXXED.) People that are sick should *stay home*.  Me wearing one when others are the spreaders is a drop in the bucket. 

That’s cool that your dad didn’t get sick!

Yes, I’m vaccinated. Due for a third shot (compromised immune), and tend to catch everything in a big way, so expected a breakthrough case or some other illness. I didn’t catch anything at all though. There were 80-90 of us, some of the sickest people I’ve ever seen. No distancing, crammed in, from 10 pm till morning. Some must have had colds or RSV or strep or whatever as well as Covid. Pre-Covid, I’d have expected to be ill, too. That’s just me. (Sigh)

In terms of spread, my wearing one was perhaps a drop in the bucket, too. But given the compromised immune system, I fully expected to be ill, and wasn’t, so feel the mask was effective, more so than just protecting others from me. Which is not what I had expected! 

It was a very well fitted N95. Not the average mask people wear out and about. Maybe that helped, too. It didn’t budge, there was no tugging, adjusting, movement.

I’m not saying you should wear a mask - you guys are vaccinated and I’m guessing your risk factors are low. I’m glad that works for you. That’s great.

I do think masking can help the wearer not get sick, even when surrounded by unmasked sick people. That’s a positive for people like me, my kids, and for anyone who is trying to avoid catching it now (not forever, but for now).

OP was asking about masking when others are unmasked. I think that it can still be helpful. Maybe not foolproof, especially not with kids who touch eyes and faces and masks, and are taking them off to eat, but I do think it can help, even in a room of sick people.



 

 

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My teens mask when required and most places don't around here. They are vaccinated. I don't know how well I could force them to when they aren't with me for activities. This year has been rough enough mentally. If I had kept them to no activities or ones that follow CDC rules/guidelines they wouldn't be able to do anything around here. Literally nothing. I'd have already lost a kid if we were locked up longer. 

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To me, I think you have to figure out the right balance for your family.  

For me right now, I'm vaccinated, in a low vax/anti-vax/anti-mask area with fairly high rates (but going down!), I'm still wearing a mask, and probably will for some time. But there will come a time when the rates will be fairly low - and assuming flu rates are also low, I will probably stop wearing a mask into stores, but I will probably continue in church services (many elderly high risk folks there). 

It's a balance - mental health, getting out and talking with people, for teens probably not always feeling like the odd man out, etc. Only you can know where that balance is for you and your family.

I do think masks work. But I'm hoping not to wear a mask outside my home for the rest of my life! Colds happen and for most are just inconvenient. Same with most other sicknesses  - at least for normally healthy non-immunocompromised folks.  If we get sick, we stay home. I wish everyone would do this, but I know they don't (reports here of people walking into pharmacies (WITHOUT masks) to drop off their obvious COVID prescriptions, and then saying they will be back to pick them up, they have to run to WalMart to get a few things).  All our close relatives are healthy, so we have no concerns of that nature. That might change my attitude. 

Edited by Bambam
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All 4 of us in my house are fully vaccinated.  Public school kids are required to wear them on our state.  A lot of our stores recommend or require them.  That being said, one of our local homeschool enrichment groups does not require masks of anyone, but they can be worn if so desired.  My boys go to class there twice a week (1 hour each day) and mask regardless of what anyone else is doing.  Thank goodness most in their class chose to mask as well.  Our other local homeschool enrichment group follows CDC guidelines, has upgraded their AC/furnace, and has HEPA filters in each room and common areas.  My boys were going to mask there anyway, but their teacher decided to require everyone in her classes to mask (it was at each teacher's discretion).  I was happy about that.  They are there one hour once a week and then home.  They don't hang out with the other kids as they tend to be in the common rooms and mostly not masked.

Our biggest risk is year round swimming.  They quit last year to keep my in-laws and dad safe.  We lost my in-laws in the spring (not Covid) and my dad now requires 24/7 care in his home so he is exposed to several different people all the time now.  So...my guys are swimming again.  I could not take the activity/thing they love most to do away from them for another year.  They mask except when in the pool as required by the team and the facilities they swim at.  Swim meets are held with good Covid restrictions and no parents are allowed to attend (they live stream it).  Best we can do.  And...the team did a great job last year with Covid safety.  They are doing their very best.  

I would not give up masks though!  I'm thankful my boys don't care if other people aren't wearing them when they are.

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We are in a similar area, my kids have been the only ones masking in many situations.

I let the kids decide. My daughter noticed that when she didn't have a mask on people were much more likely to approach her and start conversations; there are actual negative repercussions to being the only one masking (or the only one doing anything); sometimes a thing is worth those repercussions but sometimes it isn't.

We are at the height of our surge here and I have unvaccinated younger kids; my teens are currently masking indoors. During the summer when cases were low though I told them it was fine to not mask for things like church youth group. 

The risks to a vaccinated teen from covid are very low, and with everyone else in the family vaccinated and the more vulnerable members boostered your family's overall risk is low.

Is testing easily accessible in your area? I'm hoping inexpensive at-home antigen tests like those widely available in Europe will be readily accessible here soon; frequent testing could help catch any breakthrough cases and allow you to take precautions against spreading the virus to others.

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I am thankful to be living on the west coast where masking is required/accepted. It is the norm if you attend college on the west coast--required indoors everywhere except your own dorm room or while eating in the dining hall for my two college kids at different schools. I'm sure my kids are not 100% on mask use, but it's helpful that wearing a mask is the norm here. Kids realize that that is part of having normal life--preventing the outbreaks that shut things down.

I have a student with long Covid. Sweet, upbeat kind of kid, but it makes me so sad for the changes in his life. No sports. Has to miss morning class sometimes because he has a fever or isn't doing well. Has a scary health protocol for various neurological issues. So different from his life when I first knew him two years ago. I would always do everything I can to avoid this disease and not assume it will all turn out okay if our family gets it.

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I approached this by looking at other risks my kids take on a regular basis such car accidents, flu, bike/pedestrian accidents, violent crime in the city, etc, and trying to quantify them by finding national statistics on rate of death from these things. I then found the rate of death from COVID in their age groups. I think figured that if the risk of death or long COVID became equivalent to the risk from other things, I'd let them go maskless (they've been vaccinated for a long time).

I think COVID in kids is suffering from the missing-number fallacy. Yes, COVID is a risk to kids. But many things are. Quantify the risks. There will never be no COVID risk; figure out when it has approached a level we regularly live with. Also, it'll probably get worse in winter. So do things you can now.

@maize We have found the same trade offs. 

Emily

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2 hours ago, teachermom2834 said:

The worse case scenarios of how bad Covid can be and how much we do not want to catch Covid are, to me, an argument for opting out of an activity completely, not for being the lone mask wearer in a group of unmasked/unvaxxed folks. If it is that bad and we are going to suffer long term effects, etc, then exposing myself or my child with just a mask for protection isn’t a good choice either.

I get it. Something (a mask) is better than nothing. But then we are masking forever. Because our community is not ever going to reach a certain vaccination threshold to be safe and others don’t take precautions. If we will be seeing someone high risk or have a big event coming up and we don’t want to miss for Covid our risk calculation would have us staying home. So I am not a Covid denier or anti-mask. I just would not see the lone fabric or disposable mask in a group of unvaxxed unmasked teens to be enough protection to make sense. 
 

We had an event we felt was important enough to take some chances and participate last winter. I wore the best mask I had and I put a filter in it. I still got the heck out of the crowd and stayed away from people and went outside every chance I got. Because the mask was the last chance tool I had. But I didn’t feel I could rely on it to keep me safe. 
 

I guess I remain unconvinced that a lone mask does much to protect a wearer. Vaccination and staying away from people are the big ones. A mask in a group where everyone is masked makes sense. A lone mask for a vaccinated person around a bunch of unvaxxed/unmasked people? I’m just not convinced that one is worth it. 

It probably depends on the mask.  I mean healthcare workers use them to work up close with people with Covid and it seems to help though not perfectly. We are not that great at masking ourselves so no judgement here, I just like to be informed when we make decisions.

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3 hours ago, Spryte said:

That’s cool that your dad didn’t get sick!

Yes, I’m vaccinated. Due for a third shot (compromised immune), and tend to catch everything in a big way, so expected a breakthrough case or some other illness. I didn’t catch anything at all though. There were 80-90 of us, some of the sickest people I’ve ever seen. No distancing, crammed in, from 10 pm till morning. Some must have had colds or RSV or strep or whatever as well as Covid. Pre-Covid, I’d have expected to be ill, too. That’s just me. (Sigh)

In terms of spread, my wearing one was perhaps a drop in the bucket, too. But given the compromised immune system, I fully expected to be ill, and wasn’t, so feel the mask was effective, more so than just protecting others from me. Which is not what I had expected! 

It was a very well fitted N95. Not the average mask people wear out and about. Maybe that helped, too. It didn’t budge, there was no tugging, adjusting, movement.

I’m not saying you should wear a mask - you guys are vaccinated and I’m guessing your risk factors are low. I’m glad that works for you. That’s great.

I do think masking can help the wearer not get sick, even when surrounded by unmasked sick people. That’s a positive for people like me, my kids, and for anyone who is trying to avoid catching it now (not forever, but for now).

OP was asking about masking when others are unmasked. I think that it can still be helpful. Maybe not foolproof, especially not with kids who touch eyes and faces and masks, and are taking them off to eat, but I do think it can help, even in a room of sick people.



 

 

I think many people may not be aware just how good a good mask can be. Almost anything helps, but a lot of what people are still wearing is not likely sufficient for delta, even if it was fine for previous variants. Good, filtering masks are readily available now (though I wish they were free for those who can’t afford them), and they work extremely well when they fit and are worn properly. If you’re wearing a mask, it makes sense to wear one that works well to protect you as well, if you can. A bonus is that I find KF94s more comfortable than the cloth masks I wore before, and they don’t alter my voice whatsoever. Very easy to wear. My N95s are not as cool and light, but they are worth it to me for higher risk scenarios. 

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We live in an anti-vaccine, no mask area that has just experienced a terrible wave of COVID. Thankfully, rates are going back down now. COVID has plowed unmercifully through people my age. It has not changed the behavior of the people here. Our county has one of the lowest vaccine rates in our state. Masks are not mandated in our schools and the schools have not closed even when rates were at their highest.

We are all vaccinated even my teens who are almost 17 and 19. My husband and I are both RNs and wear masks/appropriate PPE throughout our work day. We have had discussions and educated the kids about COVID and decreasing the spread of the disease and protecting themselves. The elderly and vulnerable in our family are all vaccinated and we live about 2 hrs from them. We would not visit them if any of us were sick or showing signs of COVID.

That being said, though the kids know I would prefer them to wear their masks I know my high schooler does not when it’s not required. He goes to a small private school where masks are encouraged but not enforced. Very few kids wear them. His friends do not. He had multiple close exposures to COVID last year but did not get it. I consider his risk to be very low in catching severe COVID. His immune system has always been strong and he rarely gets sick. He knows I would prefer him to wear a mask but at his age, I cannot enforce this when he’s away from me.  He also has had some other things he is struggling with which I consider to be more detrimental then him being possibly alienated from his friends. My college kid wears her mask but in my opinion not consistently. Again, at her age, I don’t have control over her mask wearing.

Since I am not able to control them when they are away from me, and they are low risk, I do not make a big deal over them not wearing their mask. There are other things, like their driving, that I am more concerned about right now. 

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49 minutes ago, KSera said:

I think many people may not be aware just how good a good mask can be. Almost anything helps, but a lot of what people are still wearing is not likely sufficient for delta, even if it was fine for previous variants. Good, filtering masks are readily available now (though I wish they were free for those who can’t afford them), and they work extremely well when they fit and are worn properly. If you’re wearing a mask, it makes sense to wear one that works well to protect you as well, if you can. A bonus is that I find KF94s more comfortable than the cloth masks I wore before, and they don’t alter my voice whatsoever. Very easy to wear. My N95s are not as cool and light, but they are worth it to me for higher risk scenarios. 

Or even a just a pretty good mask, really.  As I've mentioned  many times before, Canadian HCW have been providing care in pleated disposable ear-loop masks, even for care fo covid patients, with N95 strictly reserved for AGMP,, and haven't been getting sick.  They work.  I and my colleagues are in the environment that Spryte was in everyday at work in a pleated ear-looper (plus safety glasses).

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13 minutes ago, wathe said:

Or even a just a pretty good mask, really.  As I've mentioned many times before, Canadian HCW have been providing care in pleated disposable ear-loop masks, even for care fo covid patients, with N95 strictly reserved for AGMP,, and haven't been getting sick.  They work.  I and my colleagues are in the environment that Spryte was in everyday at work in a pleated ear-looper (plus safety glasses).

True. Though a study in UK found that when they switched nursing units from pleated masks to N95s, HCW infections dropped significantly. I have to say even though the surgical masks are very prevalent here, I'm not nearly as comfortable in close proximity to someone in just one of those as to someone in a more fitted mask. A lot more aerosols are going to escape a loose mask (and aerosol studies bear that out when testing pleated surgical masks vs KF94/KN95/N95).

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Just now, KSera said:

True. Though a study in UK found that when they switched nursing units from pleated masks to N95s, HCW infections dropped significantly. I have to say even though the surgical masks are very prevalent here, I'm not nearly as comfortable in close proximity to someone in just one of those as to someone in a more fitted mask. A lot more aerosols are going to escape a loose mask (and aerosol studies bear that out when testing pleated surgical masks vs KF94/KN95/N95).

For sure better is better.  No doubt that a fit-tested N95 provides better protection than a pleated medical mask. That said, good is still good too.

I think people really do underestimate the value of a pleated mask.  If you wear it properly - put it on, shape it (fully extend to wrap under chin, press nose-wire to fit face snugly), and leave it on.

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I apparently have an unpopular opinion, but no, I wouldn't make them continue masking.  My big kids and I are all vaxed, my DH and I are low risk anyway.  When my area had a big spike recently,  I did go back to masking in stores for a few months-  BUT I had a bunch of plans and just did not have time to get sick.  Once our plans were over and hospitals weren't crowded (I follow them on FB), I loosened back up.  

Covid is here to stay, this isn't ever going to 'be over'- at some point we will have to go back to living our lives.  Friends and social things are important,  maybe more that we had thought before.  If I or someone in our home were immune compromised,  I would mask.  I am not doing indoor activities with my younger kids- but they are Sooooooo over the no friends stuff.  

My oldest went off to college.  She is vaxed and has been sick s few times already with something- who knows what.  I'm not sure masking the last 2 years helped, bc she's not been exposed to anything and is now in a communal living situation, getting sll sorts of germs.  I told her to expect to be sick- Covid, Flu, allergies, colds- all kinds of sickness- this entire first year.  

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I don't really consider masks to be preventing living our lives.  I actually feel like a mask is a super easy thing to do so we can live our lives.   Getting long Covid would definitely keep us from living our lives (as would dying).    I do agree this is likely here for a long time (although I think that wouldn't be the case if more people would vaccinate and wear a mask).  My most likely scenario going forward is to get a booster eventually (I'm still not 6 months out), relax in the Spring and Summer, and go back to wearing a mask in high risk situations in the Fall and Winter.  And live my life the way I did before, just in a mask sometimes.  

We are still wearing masks in any indoor group situations, shopping, work, etc.   We have a mask mandate but only for schools.  My business is pretty much a school situation and I require masks for everyone who comes in.   We are in an area with a pretty high vaccination rate and are currently at about 5.5% positivity.  My county is excellent but in NJ, one county pretty much runs into the next and I have students coming from all over including some counties with pretty bad rates of both infection and vaccination.  

My kids are pretty firm on their mask wearing.  They think people who aren't wearing them are being stupid (I am trying to tone them down a little bit but they are typical opinionated teenagers) so feel no pressure to not wear them.    Their dad is 65 years old and obese and they are aware that puts him in a higher risk group.  

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