As mixed messages continue regarding face coverings, Mississippi became the first state to lift a statewide mask mandate. Cities and towns can now put their own rules in place.
The governor said the facts and data still show masks work, and the state is still requiring them at certain events, including the state fair that starts this week.
“I suspect Mississippi will see an increase in cases if people stop wearing face coverings,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja with the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security.
Infectious disease experts remind people just because an order may be lifted, doesn't mean they should stop wearing masks.
“We have to have an effective vaccine to prevent people from getting infected as well as prevent them from getting severe disease, that we had adequate testing capacity so people could know their status and wouldn't go out into public if they were positive,” said Adalja. “I think short of that, masks are going to be one tool that we have to continue to use and many people are going to get accustomed to masks and they're going to realize that masks also likely have some impact on other respiratory viruses, so we may see mask wearing much more common in the United States, similar to what it is in other Asian countries, because of the value people are gaining from them.”
New research on homemade cloth masks found they expel invisible cotton fibers into the air. It’s unknown if those fibers can carry infectious viral particles, which drives home the point of washing any cloth facial coverings. Make sure you do that regularly.