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Why Should I Mask if I'm Vaccinated?

  • Category: Coronavirus
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
Why Should I Mask if I'm Vaccinated?

Whether you want to hear it or not, masks are back! Gov. Edwards issued an indoor state mask mandate on August 2, and days before, the CDC recommended that everyone in areas with high COVID-19 infection rates wear masks in public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. The delta variant is spreading through communities at a much higher rate than before and is affecting many younger, unvaccinated individuals, some ending up in the hospital and even in the ICU.

A year ago, before the vaccine was available worldwide, our focus was how to prevent the spread of the infection. Today, with vaccines available to anyone 12 years old or older and COVID hospitalizations surging drastically in Louisiana, the message is the same. Health experts say the evidence is clear that vaccination and wearing masks indoors are the best defense against COVID-19, working most effectively together.

What experts have learned is that both pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission of the virus is possible and that viral load -- how much infection you have in your body -- peaks in the days before the symptoms begin. During that period, you could spread the virus just from speaking. In addition, breakthrough infections can occur in people who are fully vaccinated, especially with emerging variants. Research has found that the delta variant contains 1,000 times more viral material than the original novel coronavirus, which explains why we are seeing more people infected at a much faster rate than previous waves.

If vaccinated people can get infected with the virus, they can also spread it. Masks act as a barrier to help prevent the respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when someone coughs, sneezes or talks. A vaccinated person masking protects the unvaccinated, including kids under 12 who aren’t eligible yet.

Getting vaccinated and wearing a mask is the best form of protection, even for those who have had COVID-19, against severe cases of COVID-19. What can help take the stress of our already burdened hospital systems and help slow the spread? Mask up and get vaccinated!