Is it time to lift the mask mandate now?

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Photo by Tia Guy.

Masks have become the new normal over the past year, all due to the never-ending COVID-19 pandemic. However, the mask mandate was lifted for a few months, allowing workers and people alike to walk in and out of places mask-free. Despite this, the lift was short-lived as it was once again reinstated at the beginning of August as cases began to rise once again. 

People are still required to wear masks inside stores and restaurants in Clark County. However, with COVID-19 cases and deaths decreasing, Clark County officials are discussing potentially lifting the mask mandate once again.

To end the mask mandate, Nevada must have below 50 cases and maintain that level for two weeks before establishments can go mask-free. 

Originally, the number was supposed to be below 100 cases, but Clark County is considered a “high” transmission area for COVID-19, so the level was adjusted to 50 cases. 

With UNLV requiring students to be fully vaccinated next semester, case rates should decline, allowing even more to open back up on campus. The state’s health department has recently reported 3,009,774 doses of the vaccine as of September, with Clark County reporting that 53 percent of its eligible residents for the vaccine are fully vaccinated.

According to 8 News Now writer Greg Haas, as of Oct. 4, Clark County is currently at 131.8 cases per 100,000.  This is a big improvement from last month, as it was reported from the Southern Nevada Health District that there were approximately 165.2 cases per 100,000 on Sept. 14, 2021. While cases are continuing to decrease, this does not mean that locals should automatically forgo their masks, as there is clear evidence that they are still required.

Recently, people have begun fighting back even harder against state mandates due to the amount of cases dropping at a steady pace. Fox 5 writer, Scott Sonner, stated that parents of students in the Las Vegas area have started filing lawsuits, challenging federal judges to issue an emergency order allowing children to attend school without masks. 

The lawsuit says that the district’s policy of wearing masks is causing psychological distress and emotional harm to students. Furthermore, the lawsuit argues that the worst of the pandemic has passed and the scientific evidence of mask effectiveness is continuing to be subject to debate.

According to News 3 LV, one of the plaintiffs, Monica Branch-Noto, stated that she and the teachers have seen a negative change in her son’s behavior. Branch-Noto also said, “He has become this angry child I don’t recognize. He cannot breathe, study, pay attention in class, concentrate or hear the teachers.”

Another plaintiff, Tiffany Paulson, said that masks affect her children’s relationships with their friends and teachers. Moreover, Paulson’s daughter is forced to play volleyball with a mask on, stating that it cuts off the oxygen flow to her brain as she is playing.

Nevada cases have remained high statewide, with almost all of the state labeled as a “high transmission area.” While the case rate has slightly decreased, it still shows that masks are highly recommended and are mandatory.

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