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To mask or not to mask? How CDC community levels impact our masking decision

How To Wear A Face Mask Without Fogging Up Your Glasses
Posted at 7:23 PM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 19:23:03-05

(WXYZ) — As the CDC has updated the mask recommendation it can be confusing if we should or shouldn't mask.

The CDC has categorized most of Michigan in the low or medium risk category. These categories can help us decide if we need to mask up.

The latest CDC guidance is taking into account two new metrics, hospital admissions and how many beds are taken up by COVID-19 patients. Masking is not just based on case counts anymore.

The CDC wants people to know how these metrics are affecting their community. So an online COVID-19 Community Level tool was created.

It’s broken into three categories:
Green = low risk
Yellow = medium risk
Orange = high risk

The CDC says that people may choose to mask at any time. But when the levels are low or medium, people can opt to wear masks. If levels are high, then everyone should wear masks.
They also point out that if a person is at high risk for severe illness, they should talk to a healthcare provider about when to mask up.

We have to keep in mind, that even when numbers are down, they’re still not at zero. Which means there is still a risk.

My family is still wearing masks. In fact, my kids want to wear them. I’m fine with that because masks are still recommended and they work. But every family is different.

Every family needs to consider their risk factors and ask questions like:

  • Does the family spend time with elderly grandparents?
  • Is anyone immunocompromised?
  • Does anyone, including the children, have a chronic illness or medical condition that puts them at high risk of developing severe COVID-19?

If the answer is yes, then I highly recommend masking especially in public places. It doesn’t matter that children are generally less likely to develop severe illnesses, if they get infected they can then spread the virus to vulnerable family members.

Once again, low cases don’t mean zero cases. Wearing a high-quality mask can really reduce your infection risk overall.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.