Masks Are Still Important!
By Sophia Mao
Dear Bethany Mandel,
I just finished reading your article “Forget Mask Mandates. Vaccines Are the Only Answer for Fighting Covid-19.” I would like to agree, but there are a few things I would like to address first.
Yes, it’s common knowledge that the vaccines have been proven to be highly effective against the virus. However, the new delta variant is spreading rapidly, which you did mention. It’s true that places with higher vaccination rates are dropping in cases, but that does not mean we should stop wearing masks. Furthermore, it’s better if we don’t take chances against the virus. There’s always a possibility that a new variant of covid could spring up out of nowhere and cause another jump in cases.
To completely wipe out covid, we need to stop the virus from spreading. The vaccine may prevent serious and long term health issues, or even death, but it doesn’t exactly prevent the spread of the virus. A fully vaccinated person can still contract the virus, even if they don’t have any symptoms. A vaccinated person with no symptoms would have no idea that they have the virus, and likely transmit it to someone else.
In Israel, about half of the adults infected in an outbreak of the delta variant were fully vaccinated.
In places like Japan and Africa, many people are not vaccinated. Japan’s government hasn’t been able to give out vaccinations fast enough, while Africa hasn’t been receiving enough vaccination shots. Only 13.5% of the world is completely vaccinated, leaving the other 87% at risk.
You do have some good points, such as when you mentioned that governments should be urging more people to get vaccinated. I agree, especially since most of the people ending up in hospitals are the ones who are not vaccinated. The government can only do so much to convince people; many people are suspicious of the vaccine for reasons I don’t understand.
Finally, I’d like to back up my point by noting that the World Health Organization has encouraged both vaccinated and unvaccinated people to continue to wear masks. Dr. Mariangela Simao stated that “People cannot feel safe just because they had the two doses. They still need to protect themselves.” He also says that people should continue to social distance, avoid crowding, be hygienic, etc.
The pandemic may seem like it’s over, but cases are still rising in some areas. In order for it to completely end, we must continue to do everything we can to prevent the spread of the virus.
Sources: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/23/opinion/covid-vaccine-masks-lockdown-mandates.html (original article)