Reinstatement of the Indoor Mask Mandate: Why Does It Matter?

Mandy Chen, Staff Writer

Once again, Alameda County has reached a dangerous level of COVID-19 transmission, registering 106,874 new cases daily, according to the CDC COVID Data Tracker.

In an effort to curb the spread, Alameda County reinstated an indoor mask mandate on Friday, June 3, 2022 at 12:01 a.m.

Currently, there are around 309,000 cases in the county with over 292,128 cases in Hayward alone. According to an Alameda County press release, “daily reported COVID-19 cases have exceeded the peak of last summer’s Delta wave, and are now approaching levels seen during the winter 2020-21 wave.” As a result, California State University, East Bay has reinstated the mask requirement for indoor settings.

CSUEB’s enrollment has been affected by COVID-19 and its subsequent lockdowns as surges wane periodically throughout the year and hospitalizations increase. “Alameda County reinstated the requirement last Thursday afternoon [June 2], which was after students enrolled in summer classes. I believe it has little, if any impact on enrollment for summer classes,” said Lyanh Luu, the Director of Environmental Health & Safety at CSUEB.

As for fall registration, “Since the mandate just went into effect less than a week ago [June 3, 2022], we cannot say whether it will impact enrollment,” said Kimberly Hawkins, the News and Media Manager for California State University, East Bay. Therefore, students’ and faculties’ reaction to this new rule and adherence to the current mandate will dictate the outcome of the Fall 2022 enrollment.

Reinstating COVID-19 restrictions can be seen as a precaution to safeguard the community from a major epidemic. Students, faculty, and staff have the responsibility to contribute to communal well-being and keep everyone protected by wearing masks.

If we have learned anything about combating disease transmission, it is this:
– We know that N95 masks are the most effective, according to the CDC.
– Indoor mask mandates are in place to prevent individuals and others from getting sick.
– In order to remain effective, masks must be worn to cover the mouth, chin, and nose.
– Double-masking, according to the CDC, is almost as effective as an N95 mask.
– Three surgical masks, when put together, can be as effective as the KN95 or N95 masks.

These safety measures, in unison with frequent hand washing and social distancing, work to slow and ultimately stop the spread of COVID-19. These precautions prevent outbreaks and enable a faster transition to a post-pandemic future.