MARTINEZ (KPIX) – Officials from local government offices all the way to the White House are wondering if mask requirements could return as the Delta variant continues to spike in COVID cases.
For those vaccinated who are reluctant to return to the practice, health officials say it’s time to think it over.
“Some people are going to wear the mask and some people are going to be very provocative,” said one woman Martinez, considering a return to mask mandates. “Because once he’s been lifted I think it’s hard to go back. “
Health officials in Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties on Thursday urged companies to implement mandatory COVID vaccination policies amid the rapid increase in COVID cases fueled by the Delta variant .
Meanwhile, three counties in East Bay – are currently seeing COVID case numbers that would put them back into the purple level if California still used this color-coding system.
Based on the analysis of case data by the Bay Area News Group, Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano counties would all be in the most restrictive level of the Blueprint framework for a safer economy than the provinces. State health officials used until California’s full June 15 reopening. This level severely restricted indoor activities and many businesses were operating at only 25% of their capacity indoors, if at all.
Video: COVID Q&A: Masking requests may soon become mandatory in the Bay Area (CBS SF Bay Area)
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As there is growing talk of a possible return to the mandatory mask rules, many vaccines in the East Bay have already made the decision themselves.
“I have a friend who is fully vaccinated and she contracted COVID,” said Vickie Dawes, a vaccinated East Bay resident. “She said it was like a really bad cold, but I don’t want it.”
“It just feels like we’re not sure about everything yet,” said Rebecca Barrett, who has also been vaccinated. “Even though I’m vaccinated and feel comfortable enough to walk outside, I’m about to go get lunch and it’s going to go inside, so I’m going to wear a mask.”
Others will be more difficult to convince a second time.
“They felt the freedom and they are tired of being afraid, and they feel safe,” said another mask wearer.
“The Delta variant changes the equation enough that masks, once again, become very sensible additional protection,” said Dr. Harvey Fineberg, former dean of Harvard’s School of Public Health.
Fineberg points out that vaccines have been shown to be very effective in preventing serious illness, even with the variants, but you are more likely to contract the virus.
“Even the vaccinated – due to the reduced efficacy of the Delta vaccine – even the vaccinated should now wear masks indoors,” Fineberg said.