Despite 27 states along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, recently extending or issuing stricter mask mandates this month to curb the spike of COVID-19 cases, 23 states have relaxed the wearing of face masks, leaving their constituents to decide on whether to protect themselves from COVID-19 or otherwise.
This, despite early warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in February about emerging COVID-19 variants of concern (VOC) which are said to have a higher chance of spreading.
New COVID-19 variants are more transmissible
CDC head and Biden-appointed Dr. Rochelle Walensky earlier expressed her reservations about dropping statewide mask mandates stating alarming figures of around 93,000 new cases and somewhere between 1,500 to 3,500 fatalities per day.
Regardless of how fast the vaccine rollout is going, the CDC maintains its position on how face masks and respirators are essential in the fight against COVID-19 owing to reports of new coronavirus strains that double the number of new cases every 10 days across the U.S.
Another new surge in cases can spell disaster to the economy
Walensky also stated that with more infections ballooning, more states and communities may find it difficult to return to some semblance of normalcy and further affect economies drastically.
As of this month, every U.S. state saw an economic decline with only a few being able to rebound since January and at least 33 states still having fewer payroll jobs year on year making last year the most catastrophic economic downturn since the Great Depression.
There are still reservations among many about being vaccinated
Another good reason to keep on wearing face masks and filtering respirators despite the vaccine rollout is how nearly half of Americans are still having reservations about getting themselves vaccinated.
A CBS News poll showed that one of the main reasons for the hesitation is how available vaccines are still untested and reported potential adverse effects after being vaccinated. However, the CDC has stated that the vaccines offer greater benefits than risks and until herd immunity is realized in the country, COVID-19 cases will continue to register huge numbers and more stringent face mask mandates will be necessary across the nation to mitigate its effects.