Wearing masks may statistically reduce the risk of getting others infected with viruses such as COVID-19, but recently, debates have spread around the United States about whether masks should still be necessary for a post-vaccination era. On May 13, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that Illinois citizens will no longer need to wear masks in certain settings, as long as they are vaccinated. Certain settings may include specific grocery stores or restaurants. Some people are optimistic, but others are frightened of what the new mask mandates may do to the number of COVID-19 cases.
“I think stores should take more precautions with who is being let in with or without a mask,” an anonymous student from Metea said.
Even though public indoor spaces have not been instructed to ask for proof of vaccination, as summer activities near the corner, there have been many incidents in which fraudulent vaccine cards have been distributed in states such as New York and Washington. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) states that there will be punishments to those who acquire them, such as time in prison or a large fine. As of now, stores and other facilities depend on their citizens to not lie about vaccinations.
“I don’t agree with other states fully lifting their mask mandates because not everyone is protected,” sophomore Shaili Banerjee said. “I don’t think the virus is going to go away completely, but it will become less aggressive.”
The United States is one of the leading countries in vaccine distribution around the world. Due to the effort to end this problem for over a year through, spreading immunity through vaccinations, social distancing rules, and the use of masks previously, some people think that mask regulations can be lifted sooner than later.
“I don’t think removing mask mandates will significantly increase total cases,” sophomore Michael Bryant said.
Trying to come up with a solution to please everyone, Metea has decided to keep their mask mandates and social distancing rules the same until further notice. As of now, the basic rules consist of limited room capacity to spread out desk or table space, and enforced face coverings over one’s nose and mouth. By keeping the same safety precautions even after the CDC changed their guidelines, Metea Valley is accomodating students who feel comfortable without a mask, mostly vaccinated students, as well as with one.
In the United States, over 122 million people are fully vaccinated, which is 37.1% of the United States’ total population. In Illinois alone, 4.63 million people are completely vaccinated. As of now, this guarantees only 36% of our local population to have full immunity to the virus- but leaves the other 64% unprotected. Those who are eligible, and choose to not get the vaccination put others lives at risk, but if the United States works together, and continues to vaccinate at this rate, life could possibly get back to normal in the near future.
“I think it’s the state’s choice, and their own community, to decide whether they think they should wear masks anymore,” another anonymous student from Metea said.