Massachusetts is easing its guidance for indoor mask usage, relaxing suggestions for fully vaccinated individuals.
The state’s Department of Public Health updated its guidance, advising fully vaccinated individuals to wear a mask indoors if they have a weakened immune system or at increased risk of severe illness:
Recognizing that Massachusetts is a national leader in vaccine acceptance, and in light of recent improvements in COVID-19 indicators, DPH now advises that a fully vaccinated person should wear a mask or face covering when indoors (and not in your own home) if you have a weakened immune system, if you are at increased risk for severe disease because of your age or an underlying medical condition, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system and is at increased risk for severe disease or is unvaccinated.
However, it is continuing to urge unvaccinated individuals to wear a mask indoors, despite the fact that mask effectiveness has been under scrutiny, even prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to update its guidance, admitting that cotton masks are the least effective in preventing transmission of the virus:
Individuals who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a face-covering or mask when indoors with others to help prevent spreading COVID-19,” the department wrote, urging those who tested positive for the virus or came in close contact with someone who did to “follow the isolation and quarantine guidance which includes wearing a mask in public for [five] more days after leaving isolation or quarantine on Day [Five], regardless of vaccination status.
Last week, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced he is living mask mandates for children in schools by February 28, citing the “extremely low risk to young people” and the availability of vaccines and mass testing.
“It’s time to give our kids a sense of normalcy and lift the mask mandate on a statewide basis for schools,” Baker said as other blue-state governors begin to do the same — something conservative politicians have observed as suspicious, given the science has not changed.
“So when you start to see them kind of reevaluate or say all this, just understand this. The science didn’t change. The medical science didn’t change. The political science changed. They feel the heat. They know that voters have been tired of perpetual lockdown policies. They know that they have basically offered no offramp and they know that they’re fixing to be whooped at the polls, so that’s causing the epiphany,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said during a press conference last week:
The medical science on forced masking children didn’t change — the political science did. In Florida, we never imposed state mask mandates, and we liberated children and parents from the local authorities that did. We hope every jurisdiction will follow suit. pic.twitter.com/Dz4SgObVJx
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) February 8, 2022