Time to Mask Up Again? Doctor with California Department of Health Says Yes – NBC 7 San Diego

Health officials are recommending people wear masks indoors high COVID-19 transmission levels.

“I strongly recommend that actually everybody wear masks indoors in closed settings, especially when there’s poor ventilation, while transmission levels are high,” said Doctor Erica Pan with the California Department of Public Health.

The new Omicron subvariants of Omicron, B.4 and B.5, will probably become the dominant variant in California in the coming weeks, Dr. Pan believes.

“It seems to be more infectious than prior versions, but thankfully we have not seen any indications, here or globally, that it’s more severe because of our immunity with vaccines and prior infections,” she said.

Registered nurse Rhianna Kogut was wearing an N95 mask as she pushed her shopping cart to her car after shopping inside the Vons store in Kearny Mesa.

“I feel like that’s what we should be wearing to protect ourselves … they’re easy to get,” Kogut said.

Monica James, who was also wearing a mask, said “I always wear it to the grocery store or to a big box store, Target or Walmart. I try to be careful … I feel like that’s the most likely place to get sick with so many people in a closed space.”

Shopper Adrienne Tabor, who was not wearing a mask, said “They are not mandated, not required and I don’t feel I need to,” adding that at this point, she feels COVID is under control even with the increase in cases.   

Beth Koetcher was getting a manicure at a nearby nail salon. She said she “felt like masks were required for too long,” and were not effective.

When asked if she was worried about the new variants, she said, “I’m just not worried. I take care of myself, my body knows how to fight, I have good immunity.”

Dr. Pan cautions people about long-haul COVID.

“I think there’s a myth out there that you only get long COVID if you were really, really sick with it, but most people who have long COVID had mild illness, so we don’t have those predictors, and I think that’s the other reason to protect yourself,” Pan explained.

NBC 7’s Kelvin Henry spoke with a local infectious disease specialists to hear more on pharmacists’ ability prescribe Paxlovid.

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