CINCINNATI (FOX19) - As the number of vaccinated people grows by the day, many are wondering how much longer masks will be needed.
To get an answer, FOX19 NOW went to some medical experts around the Tri-State.
Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum at UC Health explains at the stage we are at right now, he would not recommend surrounding yourself with thousands of mask-less people.
“I’m not sure I would feel comfortable right now saying to people go out to the Reds stadium with 50,000 friends and nobody has to wear masks and let’s all have a good time,” said Dr. Fichtenbaum. “I think it’s too soon for that.”
It is no surprise that COVID-19 fatigue is setting in. Regardless though, Hamilton County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman says this is no time to let up.
“A lot of folks are getting tired of COVID-19 and starting to let their guards down,” says Kesterman.
When people do begin to let their guard down, Kesterman says that is when things can take a turn for the worse.
“We see the risk of seeing a significant increase in cases and hospitalizations and ending up putting more restrictions back on us,” said Kesterman.
It is why doctors are encouraging everyone to continue wearing their masks.
“When you go out in public, you have no idea who’s been vaccinated and who hasn’t,” says Dr. Fichtenbaum. “You have no idea whose immune system will respond or won’t respond to a vaccine. The safest thing until we’re certain that the pandemic is gone is wear your mask in public.”
While states like Texas and Mississippi have lifted their mask mandates, leaders here in Hamilton County say we cannot become too relaxed just yet.
“What we know is masks and social distancing are highly effective at preventing COVID-19 and serious illness,” said Kesterman.
However, doctors say there are some exceptions.
“If you’re gonna be with your family or friends and everyone’s been vaccinated, small groups of people, it’s not unreasonable to take masks off and to eat and to share some time together,” said Dr. Fichtenbaum.
Masks on or masks off, experts say the key reminder is to continue social distancing. Especially during a time where the CDC is considering shortening social distancing recommendations from 6′ to 3′.
“My safest recommendation for people is to stay far apart from other people,” said Dr. Fichtenbaum. “Because if they’re infected and you don’t know it, and they don’t know it and they’re breathing or coughing or sneezing, that may get transmitted to you. The further away you are, the less likely an aerosol or droplet is gonna make it that far.”
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