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States And Localities Are Ditching Face Masks, But Some Say It's Premature

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- While masks are dropping in several states, that's not the case for some of us here in Maryland.

Depending on where you go, your masks will be staying up a little while longer.

"I think the mask mandate should stay in place," said Madeleine of Baltimore, where an indoor mask mandate has been in place since early August.

As the omicron spike fades, the big question now is when masks will come off.

"Sometimes it's complicated for breathing and sometimes I feel uncomfortable in it," said Monica Johnson of Baltimore.

Right now - data shows numbers are trending in the right direction, with 95 percent of adults vaccinated in the state. Vaccines for children under 5 are on the horizon and access to covid treatments is improving.

But scientists say it's not enough.

"We're moving in the right direction but we're not there yet," said Dr. Christopher Thompson, associate professor of biology at Loyola University Maryland

Thompson said transmission is still high and removing masks right away could be problematic.

"We're returning to some sense of normalcy but it's premature to drop the mask mandates," he said. "I think again the numbers of hospitalizations, deaths, and cases are higher than they have been in the past 12 months so the masking going away could be problematic."

Baltimore City still requires masks inside public settings, but in bordering Baltimore, Harford and Anne Arundel counties they are optional.

"Let's all just try to stay healthy together, so if keeping the mask on in the grocery store works then let's do it," said Vinny Green of Baltimore.

With more people choosing to go maskless, some tell WJZ they're worried taking off the masks could fuel a new variant.

"I think it's very important to be as safe as you an individual possibly can and the mask is the best way to do that," Madeleine said.

A debate across county and city lines as students have returned back to the classroom is the state-wide mask mandate for schools.

Right now, that mandate remains in place for all Maryland schools.

But that could soon change. Governor Larry Hogan says he plans on making new recommendations to the State Board of Education.

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