With more and more people getting vaccinated, a Bay Area doctor says we may be able to take off our masks as early as the summer.
A total of 23 million Californians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s more than half the state, which has some looking for a return to normal without masks.
“Honestly, the masks need to go,” said Daijah Hayes of San Jose. “I work at a restaurant, it’s kind of annoying because you can’t really hear anyone and people can’t necessarily hear you. I don’t really like it.”
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UCSF Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Monica Gandhi believes the mask mandate could be lifted by June 18, on the one year anniversary of the mandate.
“I think we have to come up with metrics for anything we do,” she said. “The metric that makes the most sense to me here is when everyone in the state has the opportunity to get a vaccine who wants one.”
For kids that aren’t eligible yet, Gandhi thinks they’ll be able to ditch the masks before getting shots, pointing to studies in the U.K. and Israel where 60% of the population is vaccinated.
“What the experience is from these two other countries have shown us, is that if you mass vaccinate adults the cases go down so low that it drops any transmission in children,” said Gandhi, adding she thinks the mask mandate won’t be lifted all at once.
“So one idea the department of public health could do is take off the outdoor mask mandate first, give it a month, and then take off the indoor mask mandate,” she said.
Even then, others like Paula Schnur who got the vaccine – says she’ll continue using hers long after the pandemic.
“I’m okay wearing it forever, because it’s been nice to not have a cold or a flu or anything else,” the San Jose resident said.