Please still wear a mask, California nurses implore ahead of state's reopening

The California Nurses Association is urging the public to keep wearing face masks after the state lifts most public health infection control restrictions June 15.

California's reopening comes as the state has seen consistently low COVID-19 case rates and high vaccination rates. Effective June 15, residents will be able to go mask-free in most indoor settings, according to The New York Times. Capacity restrictions on businesses and physical distancing requirements will also be lifted. Masks will still be required on public transit, hospitals, prisons and schools. 

"Please, please just keep your masks on when you are indoors and in crowds," CNA President Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, RN, said in a June 14 news release. "This pandemic is not over. We still have upward of 10,000 new infections and hundreds of deaths per day. Not even half the U.S. population is fully vaccinated. And some of the new variants are highly contagious and incredibly troubling."

Ms. Triunfo-Cortez said that loosened mask restrictions will endanger kids under age 12, people who are immunocompromised and essential workers. The union also said California is relying on vaccination alone as an infection control measure, instead of maintaining a comprehensive approach.

"Imagine each measure like a slice of Swiss cheese: One slice on its own has holes that let the virus through, but multiple slices stacked together plug those holes and will stop the virus," the union stated in its news release. "Masking, distancing outside of your household, testing, contact tracing, ventilation and air filtration, good hygiene, vaccines and more are all individual slices of cheese."

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