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CDC Considering Reinstating Mask Mandates Amid Surge in COVID-19 Cases, Delta Variant

Get vaxxed and wear that mask.

Dr. Anthony Fauci rocks a custom Washington Nationals face mask.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health, is reconsidering the recent lifting of mask mandates for the COVID-19 pandemic. And this mask mandate isn’t just about those who haven’t been vaccinated. It’s a measure for everyone, especially with the rapid rate that the Delta variant is spreading. And honestly, I’m down for wearing a mask and keeping those I love safe.

According to USA Today, COVID-19 cases have increased nationally by 171% and the death rate is up 19% over the week before. And just eleven weeks ago, about 1 million Americans were getting vaccinated on a daily basis. This led to a loosening of restrictions by Fauci and the CDC, although they still recommended that unvaccinated people continue wearing masks in public indoor places—we just all knew that most unvaccinated people weren’t going to do that when they could just blend in with the mask-free vaccinated people.

Dr. Jerome Adams, former U.S. surgeon general, told CBS’ Face the Nation, “More mitigation is coming, whether it’s masking or whether it’s closures or whether it’s your kids having to return to virtual learning, that is coming. And it’s coming because this pandemic is spiraling out of control yet again and it’s spiraling out of control because we don’t have enough people vaccinated.”

He continued by urging those who haven’t gotten vaccinated to go out there and do it. “So get vaccinated because it helps your neighbors, but get vaccinated because it’s going to help every single American enjoy the freedoms that we want to return to.” Basically, if you care one iota for those in your life, then you’ll go out there and get vaccinated to prevent them from getting any variant of COVID-19. And you’ll wear a mask, too.

With USA Today reporting that only 49.1% of the population is fully vaccinated and the more contagious Delta variant of the virus accounts for 83% of cases nationwide, it’s easy to see why Fauci is reconsidering the mask mandate. It comes just when many local officials are playing with their own mask mandates, like that of New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio. It also comes at a time when there are still huge amounts of pushback from Republicans like Rep. Clay Higgins and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

During a news conference last Thursday at the Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, DeSantis jabbed at vaccines, showed that he knows nothing about science, and how unnecessary mask mandates are. “There’s been talk about potentially people advocating at the federal level imposing compulsory masks on kids. We’re not doing that in Florida, okay?” That must be why Florida leads the U.S. in COVID-19 cases, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“We want kids to be able to be kids,” DeSantis continued, not losing steam as he spewed nonsense after nonsense that is dangerous no matter what way you look at it. “We need them to be able to breathe. It’s terribly uncomfortable for them to do it. There’s not very much science behind it.” His whole statement ruffles my feathers because it doesn’t take being an expert on viruses or diseases to understand how masks help stop the spread of COVID-19.

This also comes at a time when the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that all students ages 2 and over should wear masks if they are returning to in-person instruction when classes start back up in the fall. It’s basically another layer of protection for those who need it, especially when you take into consideration that only children 12 and over are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.

So, put on your mask and get vaxxed. We all want to return to some semblance of normalcy, and protecting our family, friends, neighbors, and more is the way to return to that pre-pandemic life full of hugs, dating, and just being around others. I know I want the latter parts of this, and I have to believe in my heart that most people in the U.S. want that, too.

(image: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

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Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.