I've never stopped wearing a mask in indoor public spaces, even though masks are no longer required. When I see most people maskless, sometimes I wonder if I should join them.
But since wearing a mask is no big deal, and I'd much rather do that instead of getting Covid and running a significant risk, about 30% I believe, of having nasty Long Covid symptoms persist for months or even years, I always end up putting my mask on.
That decision is looking even wiser given the recent rise in Covid cases both statewide in Oregon and here in Marion County.
The real number of cases is at least ten times greater than shown, since most people with symptoms are getting tested for Covid at home now, so the vast majority of cases aren't getting reported to the Oregon Health Authority.
Why are cases rising? The Albany Democrat-Herald has a good story by Tim Gruver, "OHA: Fewer face masks likely leading to more COVID cases in Oregon."
COVID-19 cases are climbing back up in Oregon, and fewer people wearing face masks is likely the cause, according to state public health officials.
While the state is faring much better than other states, it is far from out of the woods, Deputy State Health Officer Tom Jeanne said at a virtual press briefing on Wednesday, April 20.
...Hospitalization figures, however, lag behind case counts, and right now, daily case counts are seeing steady rises since their lows of 300 per day at the start of the month.
The seven-day rolling average, Jeanne said, is now 600 cases per day as of Tuesday, April 19.
Those numbers are higher than what Oregon saw when COVID-19 restrictions were last relaxed in July while also far short of January's case surge brought on by omicron variant of the disease.
Why? Fewer people than ever are wearing face masks, according to Jeanne.
...The Oregon Health Authority has no threshold for when it would reinstitute a statewide mask mandate, according to Jeanne, regardless of what COVID-19 case trends are signaling.
"We hope that that kind of intervention will not be required," Jeanne said.Nevertheless, Jeanne described wearing a face mask as one of the simplest and least burdensome measures people can take to protect themselves and others.
I think of it this way.
If I stop wearing a mask in a store or other public indoor space, after more than two years of doing this and not getting Covid, then I get infected and suffer from COVID-19, not just for a few weeks but for many months, I'd berate myself for failing to heed the masking advice of public health experts for people like me -- over 60 or otherwise at greater risk.
But if I keep on wearing a mask until Covid truly becomes endemic, rather than an epidemic/pandemic, I'd feel bad if I got Covid but I wouldn't feel like an idiot for failing to wear a mask when this is such an easy thing to do.