LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Starting Wednesday, most of California will no longer be under an indoor mask mandate, and while Los Angeles County is keeping its mandate in place for now, some people are wondering if it's safe for everyone to unmask.
Certainly, some people are eager to get rid of masks.
"The politicians, they're not wearing theirs either. So, why should we?" one woman told CBSLA.
For others, it seems like losing masks might be an unnecessary risk.
"I think I will continue for a while," said another woman.
Though LA County's indoor mask mandate will remain in place for now, in surrounding counties, the mandate will turn into a recommendation.
"This has definitely been a roller coaster for everybody," Dr. Jose Mayorga said.
Mayorga is the executive director of the University of California, Irvine Family Health Centers. He said he and his colleagues are concerned about what lifting the mandate could do to our declining cases and hospitalizations.
"Do it make me nervous? It does, especially for those who have yet to get vaccinated and, particularly, our children. There are a lot of kids out there who are not vaccinated," Dr. Mayorga said.
According to the state's guidance, anyone who isn't fully vaccinated should keep wearing a mask indoors. However, Dr. Richard Seidman, the chief medical officer at LA Care Health Plan, said even those who are vaccinated should weigh their risks before unmasking.
"Certainly the elderly, people with chronic conditions such as heart disease and lung disease, people who are immunocompromised or being treated for cancer. Those are all high-risk categories," Dr. Seidman said.
For those who are not high risk, but are in close contact with others who are, doctors suggest they consider continuing to wear a mask, and which masks people choose to wear does matter, even more so if there are unmasked people around.
"So, if you're using the highest grade of mask, KN95 or N95, that protects you from others. If you're simply wearing a cloth mask, that just prevents you from spreading any infection you may have," Dr. Mayorga said.
CBSLA asked Dr. Seidman what his response is to those who believe that masks don't work to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
"That's just not true," he said. "For people who choose to believe that masks don't work, they're simply misinformed. We ask people to get informed from accurate sources of truth."
LA has the highest community transmission in the state. So, it could be weeks, even more than a month before the county meets the metrics for lifting the indoor mask mandate.
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