Face masks, at first, were one of the hardest parts of the pandemic to get used to. Chances are, more than a year later, you still don't love wearing one but have listened to the science and realize masks help protect us from COVID-19.
The CDC recently updated guidelines about wearing a mask outdoors, but as far as indoors, the advice is to leave that mask on. But if you're fully vaccinated, why can't you take it off?
"It's not 100% effective. That's the first thing to remember," explains ABC15 Health Insider Dr. Janice Johnston of Redirect Health.
Although the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson vaccines do remarkably well at defending us against COVID-19, none of the vaccines offer total protection, meaning there is still a slim chance you could get infected.
According to the CDC, at least 5,800 fully vaccinated people in the U.S. still got infected with COVID. To add context to that number, 77 million Americans were fully vaccinated when that study was conducted.
The question now is: How long will we be wearing masks? Dr. Johnston says they could become "the new normal" in certain situations.
"I don't know what's going to happen, honestly. I do know for myself, I think about when I travel on a plane. I think I'll probably wear a mask myself, indefinitely. We've all been in that situation where someone next to you or behind you is coughing or they don't look so hot. And what do they have? It may not be COVID but it could be the flu or a whole host of other things."
The mission of ABC15's Health Insider series is to dive deeper into the things impacting your health and the health of those around you. We're going in-depth with expert advice from people who know it, see it every day in their work and study it. Have a story idea? Contact the team at HealthInsider@abc15.com.