Mask Mandates Expire Across State

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       As more people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, and the number of new cases and hospitilizations are decreasing, most Tennessee counties’ mask mandates have either been allowed to expire or are set to expire this month. The mask mandate in Wayne County set forth by County Executive Jim Mangubat was allowed to expire at the end of December 2020.

       County Executive Mangubat is asking for the residents of Wayne County to continue being responsible by acknowledging the Tennessee Department of Health’s recommendation to continue wearing a mask in public and to continue practicing social distancing whenever possible.

       “Even though the mask mandate in Wayne County was allowed to expire, it is my hope that our citizens will still remain proactive in preventing the spread of this virus,” said Mangubat. “Just use good judgment, and please continue to wear a mask when you are in close proximity to others in public situations, especially those who are in a vulnerable condition.”  

       According to medical professionals, it takes time for the COVID vaccine to kick in. You won’t reach the 94% or 95% effectiveness rate until a couple of weeks after your second dose of the vaccine. After the first dose, you do get a partial immune response, which is good news, but it doesn’t mean you’re immediately protected the minute the needle goes in your arm.

       The vaccines do not provide 100% protection. Although the vaccines are incredibly effective, they only offer 94% to 95% protection. There’s no way to tell who the 5% will be who don’t respond to the vaccine and will still be at risk for COVID-19.

       Another concern is that those who have been vaccinated might be asymptomatic spreaders. The vaccines prevent illness, but more research is needed to determine if the vaccines also prevent transmission. Experts are concerned that vaccinated people can still become infected without symptoms and then spread it to others who have not been vaccinated yet. Since the pandemic began, experts have worried about silent spreaders – those who are infected but don’t show symptoms. If vaccinated people don’t continue to wear a face mask until more people receive their second dose, they could cause the virus to keep circulating.