WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — As more people are getting fully vaccinated, many are eyeing up the end of wearing face masks both indoors and outside. Officials from the local, state and national levels have addressed potential timelines and guidance.
Masks have been a bit of a pain at times for many Pennsylvanians and Americans, but we’ve also seen some of the benefits.
“We’re going to look back and look at things that we did pre-COVID and think, ‘I can’t believe that we blew out candles on a birthday cake,'” said Alison Brodginski, D.O., Geisinger Northeast Director of Infectious Disease.
As we look back, we also are looking forward of what is yet to come.
Health experts from across the region and country say face masks do their fair share of good beyond a global pandemic.
“It’s going to protect my respiratory tract from anything out in the environment, and it’s obviously going to protect those around me, that’s coming from, from my respiratory tract,” said Brodginski.
Allergy symptoms have been kept relatively in check. The CDC also says we’ve had the lowest infection rate of the flu since 2005, prompting the country’s top infectious disease doctor to weigh in.
“We’ve had practically a non-existent flu season this year merely because people were doing the kinds of public health things that were directed predominantly against COVID-19,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Disease
While it’s nice to think about the end of masks, it’s been a major motivator for skeptics to get vaccinated.
It’s also important to remember that cases are still happening around the world and here at home.
“With COVID and more particularly some of the variants that are transmitting. Now that seems to be more transmissible we’re thinking that levels closer to 80% immunity is going to be what it really needs to take place to get on top of this,” said Timothy Friel, M.D., chair of infectious disease at Lehigh Valley Health Network.
But as of right now in Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf’s benchmark is getting 70% fully vaccinated and the medical field says it’s achievable.
“The hope would be that we can even start coming down on some of those restrictive measures, but it’s going to take all of us to get there,” said Brodginski.
- Heavy rain and gusty winds move into our area Saturday
- WATCH: 30-foot whale shark surprises fisherman: ‘Biggest I’ve ever seen in the Gulf’
- Lochte flops: Olympic career likely over after 7th in 200 IM
- Ryan Crouser goes big, breaks 31-year-old shot put record
- President Biden’s dog, Champ, passes away: ‘We love our sweet, good boy and will miss him always’