Masks forever? Experts are calling for masks even after vaccination

President-elect Joe Biden is pushing his 100-day mask challenge as part of his extensive campaign to combat COVID-19. He was seen at a Philadelphia food bank on Martin Luther King Jr. Day wearing a hat, sunglasses, a mask that appeared to cover his entire face, and protective gloves. He’s also reportedly double-masking these days and experts such as Dr. Fauci are stating that you should keep wearing a mask even after vaccination. This has led to many wondering whether we will be wearing masks forever.

Supposedly, a mask is meant to keep you from infecting others. So why would you need to wear one after you have been vaccinated for the virus or have already contracted it?


Other over-the-top measures such as digital passports or a card showing that you have been vaccinated are also being proposed in a “papers please” move to certify that you are indeed safe to be around. So, what’s the deal with permanent face masks?

Many experts out there seem to want the lockdowns and protection measures to go on forever. The New York Times wrote a piece that portends the next step in this ’emergency’, “Here’s Why Vaccinated People Still Need to Wear a Mask.” Vaccinated individuals will still need to wear masks because those with high viral loads could be “even worse spreaders,” the paper quoted Dr. Yvonne Maldonado of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The fear arises from studies on monkeys, which found that some vaccinated monkeys didn’t get sick but still carried the novel coronavirus in their noses. In other words, those vaccinated could still be carriers of the virus.

“Those monkeys were intentionally exposed to massive amounts of virus and still had less virus than unvaccinated animals,” Weill Cornell virologist John Moore told The Times. Which would seem to indicate that you should not expose yourself to massive amounts of the virus wouldn’t it?

The new talking point is that the vaccinations will change almost nothing. The new mandate being proposed is that we wear masks indefinitely and that we should be wearing heavy-duty masks and more than one just to be safe.

Raina MacIntyre, a biosecurity expert at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, has investigated mask effectiveness. MacIntyre told NPR recently that two masks likely offer more protection than one.

Doubling up on masks makes most sense if your primary covering is thin or flimsy, says Linsey Marr, an expert in virus transmission at Virginia Tech. She told The New York Times that “if you combine multiple layers, you start achieving pretty high efficiencies” of blocking viruses.

Gavin Yamey, a professor of global health and public policy at Duke, urges people to wear N95 high-filtration masks under cloth masks. Many would find that claustrophobic and it would impede breathing.

“Masks are going to be with us for a really long time,” Elissa Schechter-Perkins, a Boston University physician, told Chalkbeat. “Especially because we know kids are not going to be vaccinated right away, and masks are a really strong protective measure.” But children overwhelmingly don’t tend to contract the virus or spread it. If they do get it, it usually tends to be a mild form of COVID-19.

President-elect Joe Biden nominated Andy Slavitt as a senior adviser to his COVID-response team. Slavitt, who served as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the last two years of the Obama administration, is a big fan of extended and harsher lockdowns.

As recent as a few weeks ago, Slavitt was urging even less interaction for kids: “We should be more careful with kids. They should circulate less or will become vectors. Like mosquitos carrying a tropical disease. Of course, they can become sick themselves this way. I’m not sure what I would say about schools besides wishing Trump had built testing up.” Those such as Slavitt also are proposing that children as young as 2-years-old mask up.

Dr. Joe Bailey, the chief of pediatrics at TriHealth, also said there are developmental concerns in newborn babies who don’t see a full face.

“Yes, definitely. You see newborns who, normally, you smile at them and they’ll smile back at you. If you don’t have a mask on, a baby can pick up on a lot more.”

Then there is the civil liberties aspect to forcing everyone to mask up forever. Plus, masks get dirty and those who are not picky about hygiene may spread other nifty diseases through masks that are worn constantly.

As America churns toward the second year of mandated mask-wearing, many now wonder if it will ever end. If the ‘experts’ get their way, maybe not.

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