Per recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, all 50 states have dropped their indoor mask mandate, and many Americans are starting to leave their masks at home.

That leaves the question: Should you still wear a mask, even if no one else is?

Effectiveness of masks: Jamie Meyer, an infectious disease physician at Yale School of Medicine, states that masks are more effective if everyone around you is wearing them, according to National Geographic.

  • However, even if the infected person isn’t wearing a mask, those around them who wear masks have a reduced chance of becoming infected, says National Geographic.
  • Although masks can help reduce the spread of COVID-19, experts say that your best chance at fighting the virus is to be fully vaccinated, reported National Geographic.

Should I wear a mask? According to the CDC, wearing a mask could help protect against viruses and prevent strain on the health care system.

  • The bottom line, the CDC states, “Wear a mask with the best fit, protection and comfort for you.”
  • A good question to ask: “Who is the most vulnerable person in your immediate circle?” according to The New York Times.
  • Masks and social distancing are still a good idea if you or someone you spend time with is immunocompromised. Mask are also recommended if you are unvaccinated or spending time with someone who is unvaccinated, reports The New York Times.
  • Experts say that people who are immunocompromised should continue indoor mask use, per National Geographic.
  • People with higher risk of COVID-19 complications, such as diabetes, should consider wearing a mask until cases are about 10 per 100,000 reported National Geographic.
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  • The CDC still recommends that people who have been infected with COVID-19 should wear masks during their five-day isolation period, along with the five day period afterward.
  • “If you’re otherwise healthy and have received your vaccine and booster shots, your risk of getting seriously ill with COVID is extraordinarily small. It’s about in line with other risks people take every day, such as driving in a car,” reports the The New York Times.
  • Whether you should wear a mask depends on your individual concerns, said Linsey Marr, an expert in the airborne transmission of virus.
  • Marr says she will stop wearing her mask when there is no longer a strain on the health care system, according to Time.

Future mask use: Experts urge those not wearing a mask to keep them at hand.

  • BA.2 is spiking cases in Europe, but no one knows if an outbreak will happen in the United States, according to National Geographic.
  • BA.2 doesn’t usually reinfect those who already had BA.1, so a potential spread of BA.2 will depend on how many people were previously infected with BA.1.