As early as July last year, Americans have already accepted how face masks will remain commonplace into the future. One McKinsey survey reported that 88% of Americans believed that COVID-19’s infection rate will reduce in nine months. Evidently, the opposing 12% proved to be more correct with the U.S. reaching its record-high of 402,270 new cases on December 20 last year and coming to a total of 30.2 million infected individuals to date. 

Fast forward to today when several new COVID-19 strains are proving to be more contagious all over the world, and face masks have become as essential as the oxygen we breathe.

Why most people believe masks will remain essential 

The main reason why face masks will remain essential in the future despite vaccine availability centers on how we can achieve herd immunity. It is still necessary to strike a balance between opening up the economy and encouraging everyone to observe the infection protocols and vaccination programs carried out by the federal government. 

Nationwide vaccination rollouts can take months or longer owing to logistical constraints and possible delays in supply. In the meantime, it would seem like the only hope for most countries in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and its new strains is to rely on the wearing of face masks, social distancing, and practicing proper hygiene while inoculation efforts are still ongoing worldwide.

Stopping the spread

Research reports have already proven the benefits of wearing face masks in both healthcare and general community settings to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The problem is that after a year into the pandemic and despite new vaccines being scarcely available, more people have grown more complacent and fatigued about wearing them.    

Aside from medical professionals who are required to wear high-grade N95 respirators while treating COVID-19 patients, younger Americans who go out for work in offices were found to be in more need of high-grade medical face masks and respirators than any other demography according to the McKinsey survey. The 20-49 age group, in particular, is also found to be the largest asymptomatic or silent spreaders in America out there today which makes the general production of effective face masks and respirators more necessary than ever before. 

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