To mask or not to mask? That is the question provoked by the Centers for Disease Control’s most recent mask recommendations. Some Delaware Valley residents praise efforts to mandate masks and additional restrictions out of fear of the more transmissible COVID Delta variant. Others say the concerns are overblown and vaccinated people should not have to don masks at all.
Chester County is the only county of the Delaware Valley’s four collar counties with a moderate level of transmission. Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery Counties, and Philadelphia have all slipped into the substantial spread range under the new CDC guidelines.
These three counties fall into the range where the CDC recommends both vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks in public indoor areas. Also, Montgomery County recommended that students, staff, and visitors wear masks when in school this fall.
And area residents had plenty to say about masking up indoors when asked on Facebook to give their opinion about the CDC indoor mask guidance.
Nona Breaux of Salfordville felt comfortable with the decision.
“I’m more than willing to [wear a mask indoors] to protect myself and others,” she said. “Also glad to be vaccinated.”
Breaux also questioned why some may have problems with the decision by the CDC or the guidelines they’re recommending. “I don’t know why people rant against masks and vaccines. Spare me the histrionics.”
“It’s a recommendation only,” said Elliott Hirsh of Wyncote. “Unlike mask mandates, this is merely a guidance precaution from the CDC. And mandates don’t seem like they’ll be making a comeback soon, as Gov. Tom Wolf said on Tuesday his plan to fight the virus would be through vaccination efforts, not mask mandates again.”
Still, Hirsh made clear his opinion on mandates too. “If they force you, you know it’s only about control.”
Lynn Brown, a Cheltenham resident, felt like there is a lot of uncertainty going around at this point in fighting the virus, with so much unknown about the new variant.
“Honestly, I don’t think even the CDC is sure,” Brown said.
With all this unpredictability, Brown is going to take precautions just in case. “I think it’s a good idea to wear masks indoors in certain situations. I know I will.”
Meanwhile, Andy Wilcox of Norristown sounded off on all medical organizations and their handling of this crisis. “The CDC, WHO, and the NIH, IMHO, have become politicized,” he said.
“These store-bought masks do nothing to stop the spread or filter the air enough to keep you from contracting the virus,” Wilcox noted. While many would argue with that statement, the CDC has recognized some masks are weaker than others, and many doctors are urging people to get N95 masks if they truly want to do their best to stay safe.
Wilcox also complained about how there has been little transparency of the data that is driving these decisions. “I will follow the science, once real science that is honestly presented.”
The CDC has come under fire for not being more forthcoming on its data for this recent recommendation, only releasing the report that fueled this change days after the initial announcement.
For now, it seems like Wilcox won’t be listening to the CDC for guidance.
“I am fully vaccinated. I am going to refuse to put the mask back on and I am going to live my life,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said 63.2 percent of residents who are 18 or older are now fully vaccinated. Also, as of Aug. 1, Pennsylvnaia ranked 5th among 50 states for total COVID vaccine doses administered, the CDC stated.
A goal put forth by President Joe Biden was to have 70 percent of all Americans vaccinated by July 4.