By Leila Rocha
Although lockdown did not start in California until March of 2020, Covid has been an intense and tragic battle since 2019.
We started out with little knowledge on how to stop the spread of the highly contagious virus; but one prevention factor has stayed the same since the beginning: wearing masks. The CDC explains that we have, “a better understanding of how to protect people from being exposed to the virus, like wearing high quality masks…”; but, some are choosing to abandon masks in indoor public settings.
To clarify a mask’s purpose, the FDA states, “Face masks and barrier face coverings should generally be used for source control, meaning they may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others. These products may also help limit exposure to respiratory droplets and large particles but are not a substitute for filtering facepiece respirators or surgical masks.” Therefore, a benefit of masking is protecting others from the virus that you may not know you have. For example, you could be asymptomatic and unsuspecting that you should even take a test. There is room for error with at-home covid tests, so your negative rapid test may not actually be negative.
The CDC now states that we have “so many tools available to us for reducing COVID-19 severity, there is significantly less risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death compared to earlier in the pandemic.” By August 2022, over half a billion doses of vaccines protecting against covid were given in the United States, providing many with extra protection.
Regardless of vaccination status, as of September 1, Benicia High School has a total of 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19. In our entire Benicia Unified School District, there are a total of 79 confirmed cases. Accounting for the entire school district, 1.21% of the schools population have Covid-19.
That being said, masks are worth wearing. But, they can also be annoying. The pandemic is still alive, and how you protect yourself should depend on the extent to which you are avoiding Covid-19 .
If you and everyone in your household is healthy and has a lesser chance of falling severely ill, taking off your mask (as long as you know that you do not have Covid-19) may make you feel back to your less stressful pre-pandemic life. On the other hand, if someone in your household is immunocompromised, it would be respectful to wear a mask in their presence.