Our collective responsibility calls for continued vigilance
I understand that the science shows vaccinated people are unlikely to get or transmit the virus if outdoors and distant from others. I also understand how tired everyone is and the desire to allow people to enjoy their status once vaccinated.
The reasons vaccinated people should continue to wear masks, however, are not about individual risk or desires, but about our collective responsibility. None of us is safe until all of us are safe. Just as we ask unvaccinated people to get vaccinated as much for others as for themselves, we who have been vaccinated need to keep wearing masks to keep mask-wearing the social norm it needs to be.
People who have been most skeptical of government and public health throughout this pandemic are likely to go unmasked under the protection that no one knows their vaccination status. This puts all of us at greater risk.
I fear that as a society, we have lost our understanding and commitment to a common good, and we have lost the patience to make sacrifices for each other and the future. I for one will wear my mask awhile longer. I believe my fellow citizens, vaccinated or unvaccinated, should do the same, and that our leaders should have had the wisdom and discipline to continue requiring this of us.
Dr. Anthony L. Schlaff
The writer is director of the public health program and a professor in the department of public health and community medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine.
Erring on side of caution is correct move
Re “Why we are clinging to our security masks” by Beth Teitell (Page A1, May 8): The vaccine keeps those who contract the virus from getting sick from COVID-19, the disease the virus causes. Those of us who are vaccinated who still mask up despite the easing of mandates aren’t doing it because we’re irrational liberals who can’t let go of our do-gooder habits; rather, we are erring on the side of caution to keep the large number of people who haven’t gotten vaccinated from being infected.
Belgrade Lakes, Maine
Meanwhile, we may have found a cure for the common cold
Probably because of mask-wearing, I haven’t had a cold in two years. The regular flu was almost nonexistent this year. COVID-19 aside, I’m not sure I’ll ever stop wearing a mask in crowded places. I hope people will be respectful of my personal choice.
How a city dweller steers her way through this
Kudos to Renée Graham for her smart and timely column on mask wearing outdoors (“I’m fully vaccinated. I’m still wearing a mask outdoors,” Ideas, May 9). For city dwellers, maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from others in the course of a walk, run, or bike ride is highly unlikely. My strategy when lowering my mask on a walk is to respond to an upcoming corner or curve as a driver does a Yield sign: Pull up my mask (“brake”) as a precaution, then lower it when all is clear.
In the face of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, urban residents and city visitors who keep masks in their pockets on city sidewalks might be compared to motorists who store their brakes in the glove compartment.
Erica B. Lindamood