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Stephen Parodi, MD, Kaiser Permanente’s national infectious disease leader and associate executive director of The Permanente Medical Group, shared why mask mandates are being lifted and who should continue wearing them in an interview with Parade magazine.
More than 70% of Americans live in areas where they can now consider going mask-free, after many states dropped mandates following recent updates of national mask guidelines by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We know that there’s an amount of natural immunity after you’ve had an infection, so now, there are a large amount of people who have some form of immunity, either from the vaccines, from [getting COVID], or both,” Dr. Parodi said.
While mandates are falling, he stressed the importance of continued mask use for those who are immunocompromised, not yet eligible for vaccination, or live in areas where COVID-19 transmission rates are still high.
Dr. Parodi said that parents with children under age 5 may choose to continue wearing masks, since kids in this age group have not yet been approved for vaccination. He added that schools can also do their part by continuing to disinfect classroom items as best they can to help protect not only against COVID but also other viruses.
For those who are eligible, Dr. Parodi emphasized that getting vaccinated and boosted should continue to be the first line of defense against COVID-19.
Note: To read the entire article, visit the Parade magazine website.