Bring back masks to save our summer

By Leonardo Cervantes

Statewide COVID-19 cases are quickly rising once again due to minimized restrictions.
State officials might have reduced restrictions sooner than they should have. It would be wise for state officials to enforce a strict mask mandate once again.
The diminished enforcement of mask mandates plays one of the biggest factors in recent COVID-19 cases rising.
People tend to travel during spring and like to go outside to enjoy the weather so it’s no surprise that cases started rising these last few months.
The California mask mandate ended in mid-February. Masks were no longer required, but still recommended to ensure safety. Only a few settings like hospitals and care facilities still have strict mask mandates.
The relaxed restrictions perhaps tricked people into thinking masks were no longer necessary. However, this can’t be further from the case as people are still at risk of contracting COVID-19.
“On average over the past week. California has been reporting 2,083 new cases and 3.7 new deaths per day,” the California Department of Public Health said.
Supermarkets, bars, retail stores, schools and buses are a few places where people are vulnerable to COVID-19 as there are typically a large number of people around them.
Schools must be proactive in trying to limit a COVID-19 outbreak.
With graduations about a month away, it would be best for schools to begin setting a mask mandate at least for these events.
Graduation events are usually large gatherings as kids invite their loved ones to celebrate. Putting a small limit to how many people a student can invite can help with this.
Schools likely won’t postpone graduations, proms or other school functions, so they should enforce on screen testing for those exposed to the virus.
For such events, schools should enforce a strict mask mandate as well as ask for proof of a vaccination or negative rapid test result.
Making booster shots and additional doses widely available and mandatory in crowded public settings can raise vaccine rates.
“About 80.5% of Los Angeles County residents have received at least one dose and 72.9% are fully vaccinated,” California Department of Public Health said.
If civilians already got two doses, it’d be best to get an additional dose in order to have the strongest immunity possible.
“Over 7.3 million people are fully vaccinated but only 3.8 million have received an additional dose,” LA Public Health said.
With school vacations right around the corner, there will be a bigger increase of kids and young adults in the streets. Unfortunately, over the past two years these kids’ social lives have been robbed due to the virus and they will want to be able to enjoy themselves this summer.
With relaxed mask mandates, cases will likely skyrocket during the summer due to all these children not wearing masks in public.
It’s been over two years of people wearing masks in public yet some complain that they aren’t comfortable.
Although sponge and cloth masks don’t offer the best protection, it’s the least people can wear in order to keep others safe.
There are many different types of masks and respirators like N95, N99 and P99 masks that the public can buy.
Some people might have mental health conditions or disabilities that prevent them from wearing masks, but those around them don’t have an excuse to not wear a mask. It is essential to lower coronavirus cases or else the seemingly up and down trend will continue for years.
Perhaps, COVID-19 spikes will continue to happen for the following years no matter what regulations are set.
The virus continues to affect the lives of millions across the world and many are still struggling to adjust to their new lives.

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