I readily admit that if you look at photos of me with and without a mask, there's good reason to feel that the reason I'm still wearing a mask out in public, even though it isn't required now in most places, is that I look better with my face covered up.
(For sure, I look younger.)
But actually I have some pretty good reasons to buck the clear maskless trend, now that Governor Brown has lifted the indoor masking order (which still remains for health care facilities and pharmacies).
These reasons are based on public health advice/information I've been getting from my Twitter feed and usual news sources: New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic -- you know, the mainstream media that reality-based liberals like me enjoy reading.
(1) I'm old. Being over 60 puts me in a high-risk Covid group. Being over 70, even more so. People at higher risk from Covid for whatever reason should still wear a high quality mask in public indoor spaces where unvaccinated people and infected people will be encountered.
(2) I don't want to get long Covid. Or short Covid, for that matter. When I hear people say, "a mild case of Covid is just like the flu," I think, OK, but I don't want to spend a week or two sick with the flu. Plus, many people with Covid have serious lingering symptoms like fatigue that can last for months or years. This can happen even with mild cases. So no Covid is way better than any form of Covid.
(3) An Omicron subvariant could be coming soon. Omicron is a variant. BA.2 is an Omicron subvariant. It's causing a rapid rise in cases in many parts of the world. Bad news is that BA.2 is even more infectious than original Omicron. Good news is that it appears to be no more severe.
New infections jumped by eight per cent globally compared to the previous week, with 11 million new cases and just over 43,000 new deaths reported from March 7-13. It is the first rise since the end of January.
The biggest jump was in WHO's Western Pacific region, which includes South Korea and China, where cases rose by 25 per cent and deaths by 27 per cent.
...The picture in Europe is also not universal. Denmark, for example, saw a brief peak in cases in the first half of February, driven by BA.2, which quickly subsided.
But experts have begun to warn that the United States could soon experience a similar wave to that seen in Europe, potentially driven by BA.2, the lifting of restrictions and possible waning of immunity from vaccines given several months ago.
"I agree with the easing of restrictions, because you can't think of it as an emergency after two years," said Antonella Viola, professor of immunology at Italy's University of Padua.
"We just have to avoid thinking that COVID is no longer there. And therefore maintain the strictly necessary measures, which are essentially the continuous monitoring and tracking of cases, and the maintenance of the obligation to wear a mask in closed or very crowded places."