Mask off? Face-covering requirements approach murky territory


 PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Mask, or no mask? With more people becoming vaccinated, the answer to this question is confusing at best.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser for the pandemic, told reporters on Sunday that mask requirements should “become more liberal” as vaccination rates increase.

Around 34% of adults in the United States are fully vaccinated and 58% have had their first dose. President Biden intends to get 70% of adults vaccinated by July 4.

Reaching 70% would create “a pattern of decreasing cases, hospitalizations and deaths and take us down to a sustainable low level,” White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator told the New York Times on Sunday.

In Oregon, 32% of adults are fully vaccinated, while 48% have had at least one shot.

In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed some of its guidelines on wearing masks outdoors. Folks who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask outdoors while walking, running, hiking or biking alone, or when in small gatherings. Masks are still necessary for venues like sports stadiums, according to the CDC.

“Ventilation is still incredibly important for transmission and when you are in indoor spaces, the virus just doesn’t disperse and get spread out the way it does when you’re outside,” said Dr. Roger Chou, an associate professor at Oregon Health & Science University.

The CDC still advises everyone — even those who are vaccinated — to continue to mask up in indoor public spaces.

For now, masks in Oregon are still required, especially in indoor public areas like stores and restaurants, even for folks who are fully vaccinated.

For guidance on choosing masked or unmasked “safe” activities, the CDC offers a colored rubric for both indoor and outdoor activities.

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