They’re Vaccinated and Preserving Their Masks On, Perhaps Perpetually

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They’re Vaccinated and Keeping Their Masks On, Maybe Forever

"I'm in no hurry. Why should I be in a hurry?" Said Mr. Jones, who was fully vaccinated about a month and a half ago. Until New York City gets higher vaccination levels – only 40 percent are fully vaccinated – he thinks it's too risky to expose. “It's more important to be around. That's what matters. I'm an old man – I want to be there as long as possible. "

A group of young men passed him on Broadway with no mask in sight. Mr Jones said he understood, "Young people think they are invulnerable – and I hope they are."

Public health data shows that masking and social distancing most likely have had far-reaching positive effects beyond slowing the spread of Covid-19. While over 34,000 adults died of influenza in the 2018/19 season, according to C.D.C. Data. Mask wearers say their seasonal allergy symptoms appear to be fewer.

Leni Cohen, 51, a retired kindergarten teacher from New York City with a weakened immune system, said she planned to continue wearing a mask while helping as a substitute teacher. But what she wants more is that her students stay masked.

“Kindergarteners are delightful but quick to share their secretions,” Ms. Cohen wrote in an email listing the illnesses like colds, strep throat, pneumonia, influenza and parvovirus that she has gotten from her students over the years .

"This year is so different!" She continued. “The children do not suck their hair or put objects or thumbs in their mouths. Their mouths and noses are covered so that I am (mostly) protected from sneezing and coughing. I can see myself keeping up with masks. It's the safest I've ever felt in a 5- and 6-year-old classroom. "

Barry J. Neely, 41, a Los Angeles composer, contracted the coronavirus in March 2020 and battled symptoms for months. He also struggled with guilt about accidentally infecting people he'd come into contact with prior to his diagnosis – at a time when the government was banning the use of masks.

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