Now that San Diego County is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its recommendation to wear face masks indoors, even if people are fully vaccinated, the question is: Will more people start wearing them?
On the day the county decided to follow the CDC guidance on face masks, COVID-19 cases continued to surge in San Diego, with an additional 741 cases reported Tuesday. There were 24 additional hospitalizations.
At Hazard Center on Wednesday, there were few indicators that more people were actually wearing masks indoors. And it seems that those who were not already inclined to wear masks indoors won’t be changing their habits anytime soon.
“I think it’s silly," Anne Gold of Poway told NBC 7. "I don’t think they worked the first time, and the definition of stupid is doing the same thing over and expecting a different result."
Gold compared the rising number of cases to the flu.
“The cases are going to go up because it’s a flu," Gold said. "It’s going to mutate and we’re going to have different variants."
It's important to note, however, that although COVID-19 and the flu are both contagious respiratory illnesses, they are not the same thing since they are caused by different viruses. The CDC states that the flu is caused by an infection with influenza viruses while COVID-19 is caused by an infection with a coronavirus.
Dan Skalko of Bay Park agreed with Gold's sentiments.
“I will not be wearing a mask any longer," Skalko said. "I’m prepared for consequences, and I just don’t feel it’s something that I want to participate in any longer."
Others said they were fine wearing masks indoors.
“I don’t have a problem with it," said Tim Nolan, who is a Lyft driver from Tierrasanta. "It’s fine by me if it’s going to prevent me from getting COVID. It’s going to help stop the spread. It’s no big deal to me.”
“I think it’s a good thing because it can help prevent the spread of the virus," said downtown San Diego resident Jeffrey Jones. "I don’t think it’s a good decision not to wear the mask."
Eighty percent of eligible residents in San Diego County have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine. The overwhelming majority of new cases in the county are among people who are not fully vaccinated.
“It certainly is concerning, but we have to meet people where they are and continue to provide additional information, and just continue to push the message that vaccination is important,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the public health officer for San Diego County.
Wooten said the CDC guidance is only a recommendation, but it’s based on research and the threat of the delta variant. She continues to implore people to get vaccinated.
“The most important thing that an individual can do now, if they are not vaccinated, is to get vaccinated," Wooten said.