By Carol Zeng
Two years after the pandemic started, the mask restriction has finally loosened a little. As researchers predicted, the peak of the Omicron variant in late January has happened, and COVID cases are decreasing dramatically. As a reward for our efforts, the California Department of Public Health terminated the indoor mask mandate on February 15th for the fully vaccinated, exclusive to school and certain settings.
However, some are not as willing to lift their masks. Individuals who are immunocompromised or have underlying medical conditions are afraid of the possible consequences of not wearing masks. Others who are simply afraid of contracting COVID also choose to exercise their right of free will by keeping the masks stuck to their faces.
Nevertheless, they can’t deny that there are negative outcomes of wearing a mask for too long. A study conducted during the pandemic investigated the adverse effects of prolonged mask use. They have identified an increase in acne, headaches, rashes, and impaired cognition in the majority of the healthcare workers that were surveyed. Another study also shows that there is a higher chance of developing a respiratory tract disease, and it leads to people touching their face more often due to the false sense of security a mask provides.
However, there is a valid reason why the counties are deciding on lifting the mask restriction. The chart below shows the coronavirus cases throughout the pandemic, and Omicron caused a massive spike in (mild) cases.