Brigham & Women's epidemiologist Dr. Paul Sax discusses the reopening of businesses in Massachusetts and the end of the mask mandate.
- In 12 days, Massachusetts will drop all coronavirus restrictions.
- So this afternoon, live on CBS in Boston, I spoke with Dr. Paul Sax, an Epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and I asked him if this was the right time for this move.
PAUL SAX: I'm not going to say that it's too late. I think it's actually the timing is about right. I mean, one thing that I noted recently is that the CDC, about half the country would think that the CDC was, you know, too slow in making these recommendations, and about half the country thinks the CDC is too fast, which probably means that they're just about right. What we're seeing nationally and what we're also seeing in Massachusetts is a really precipitous drop in number of new cases, and that's paralleled with the drop in number of people hospitalized and the number of people dying. So this is the trend that we want. This is what's called, you know, exponential decay, and we're hopeful that it's going to continue through the summer and get things even better than they are now.
- Do you agree that the health metrics show we can fully reopen safely?
PAUL SAX: Yes, but with a few caveats. I do feel like, as has been stated numerous times, people who are not vaccinated still are at risk of getting COVID-19, and they're still at risk of transmitting it. I also want to make a special plea that people whose immune systems are weakened by taking medications or being on cancer chemotherapy should be warned that the vaccines may not be as effective as in them as it is in others, so these are populations that need to be more careful. And then finally, I think it's perfectly reasonable for people to make the choice to continue to wear masks in indoor public settings that are crowded, and I'm thinking about things like maybe the crowded grocery store or another place like that. And then by all means, I support continuing to wear them in public transportation, airports, planes, trains, et cetera.