Mask or no mask? King County’s health officer tries to clear things up by advising you to keep it on indoors

Lots of confusion in the week since the CDC‘s sudden shift in mask-wearing advice. In last night’s pandemic roundup, we noted that state health officials suggested forthcoming state/local guidance might help clarify things for businesses. And today, here it is, from Seattle-King County Public Health:

King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin has issued a Local Health Officer Directive that strongly urges residents to continue wearing a face mask in indoor public settings, whether or not they are vaccinated. Public Health – Seattle & King County recommends that businesses who serve the public continue policies to ensure customers and employees wear masks indoors.

“Continued use of face masks for everyone five years of age and older within indoor public spaces is reasonable and necessary in King County to reduce the risk for COVID-19 transmission until more of the population is protected through vaccination and COVID-19 disease rates decline,” the Directive states.

In addition to the local Directive, the Washington State Department of Health Order continues to require everyone to wear face masks in schools, public transportation, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, and health care settings, including doctor’s offices, long-term care, and hospitals.

You can read the rest of the announcement by going here; the full directive is here.

26 Replies to "Mask or no mask? King County's health officer tries to clear things up by advising you to keep it on indoors"

  • Bob May 20, 2021 (1:37 pm)

    As Pfizer have just announced their vaccine is only 70-75% effective against the Indian variant, I think I’ll be keeping mine on! 

    • Choice May 20, 2021 (7:15 pm)

      You should absolutely do what you’re comfortable with, but I think it’s important to point out that 75% is still more effective than the flu vaccine. And no vaccine is 100% effective. The objective is preventing severe illness and death, which is still achieved. Ultimately though, it’s obviously your choice and no one should prevent you from making one. BTW, if calling SARS-CoV-2 the “Chinese Virus” was racist or xenophobic, we should probably refer to variants by their scientific name. This one is B.1.617.2

    • Lisab May 20, 2021 (8:00 pm)

      You’re the only one on here making sense, Bob!

  • Thomas Andrew Wood May 20, 2021 (1:56 pm)

    I will respect any business that ask that people wear a mask.What I won’t do it, because Dr Duchen  or Jay Inslee  or the head of the State lab told me too.After over a year they still can’t provide up to date information. The dashboard is always incomplete.

  • AB83 May 20, 2021 (2:13 pm)

    That’s ridiculous the CDC says if you’re vaccinated you don’t need to wear your mask anymore what’s the point of the damn vaccination if you still have to wear your mask …… if you still wanna wear your mask and you’ve been vaccinated fine but I’m gonna follow the science that everyone’s been talking about 

  • Smittytheclown May 20, 2021 (6:21 pm)

    This thing is almost over.  Stay hidden, Bob.  

  • non expert mask advocate May 20, 2021 (6:27 pm)

  • Mel May 20, 2021 (6:30 pm)

    I don’t understand this. If people want to continue wearing masks I’m all for it, but why he is directing people to do so? Isn’t the CDC reviewing the science? And now we just don’t believe them? It makes no sense.

    • WSB May 20, 2021 (7:24 pm)

      The reasons are all listed in the full announcement, linked above.

  • Resident May 20, 2021 (8:00 pm)

    How does this clear up anything? “Strongly urges”?! We have the highest vaccination rate in country and other areas are dropping their mask mandates. Not going to wear my mask. If it is good enough for the CDC it is good enough for me.

    • CAM May 21, 2021 (9:11 am)

      Washington is 17th in the country

    • zark00 May 21, 2021 (10:21 am)

      @ Resident – yeah man! I hate old people, kids and immune compromised people too!  I will join you in doing my best to be the most selfish piece of trash I can possibly be! Like you, I may not be able to understand statistics, and I may make wildly inaccurate claims to back up my clearly politically motivated opinion, but darn it – just like you Resident, I am really scared to put a tiny piece of cloth over my face – you know why (nudge nudge wink wink) communism – amIright! Yeah man – the masks have nothing to do with a miniscule, insignificant, action on my part that could very well protect the most vulnerable of our friends and neighbors – it’s all about Biden somthingsomething Libtards somethingsomething – I’m a complete abject moron somethingsomething. 

    • Laughable May 21, 2021 (11:44 am)

      It doesn’t clear anything up. It’s just more confusion and grandstanding from Duchin who isn’t ready to give up his time in the spotlight. The article on CNN certainly didn’t help. Clearly he doesn’t have authority or support from other state officials. The way his “directive” is worded makes that apparent. It’s all recommendations. After 1.5 years, I’m capable of coming up with my own recommendations based on the plethora of information available from the CDC and medical studies. If you’re vaccinated, lose the mask or wear one. Your choice. If you’re not, wear a mask, get vaccinated, or risk your health. But it’s your body. 

  • Bandana May 20, 2021 (8:16 pm)

    According to county dashboard, 70% of King County adults have at least one dose.

  • What Do I Know May 20, 2021 (9:22 pm)

    Even after first dose there is a high level of immunity within two weeks, “Using the data from the published study of the Pfizer vaccine, Public Health England determined that vaccine efficacy was 89% for 15-21 days after dose 1 – and before dose 2 on day 21.” Was there any discussion from Duchin about the amount of coverage from one dose and if that was considered as a metric instead of fully vaccinated?

  • No Mask May 20, 2021 (9:37 pm)

    Good heavens! There is plenty of info that proves that vaccinated people are safe from getting and transmitting. No one needs to “police” it either because those that cheat are only hurting themselves. Stop second guessing and let’s move on. If you are vaccinated, then you have earned it and shouldn’t feel guilty. It’s your choice to wear or not to wear. Shame on city officials for second guessing and perpetuating more anxiety. 

  • Ws resident May 20, 2021 (10:11 pm)

    I think going against the CDC recommendation isn’t a good idea.  They said fully vaccinated people do not have to wear a mask.  They followed the science and I will follow their recommendation.  I love that my gym is following their recommendation as well as it sucks doing strenuous cardio with a mask on. I will of course still wear a mask if a business requires it but I’m done wearing one outdoors at all.

  • K May 21, 2021 (12:12 am)

    Please keep in mind that even if you are fully vaccinated, many workers in indoor settings are not yet. The majority of non-grocery/ restaurant employees were not eligible for their first dose until April 15th, meaning that today is the first possible date to be considered to be fully vaccinated. The reality is that most could not secure appointments immediately without lying about eligibility and we have at least another week before we feel protected. While we believe in following the CDC’s guidance, many of us feel the announcement was a bit premature. All we ask is that you be considerate of others while indoors and not let selfishness prevail. Yeah, wearing masks isn’t exactly fun but at the end of the day it has saved a lot of unnecessary deaths. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, please just be a decent human being and not argue with store staff when asked to wear your mask – and- if you insist on not wearing one, please at least keep your distance. We literally only want to keep everyone safe and are very tired of arguing with you about something so easy to do.

  • Masks make good sense May 21, 2021 (7:23 am)

    Getting the vaccination is first and foremost about greatly increasing your protection from catching and spreading covid, and beating the pandemic, so we can return to more normalcy, and then hopefully not have to wear masks anymore. We are not quite there yet.

    What the CDC actually essentially said was that those who are fully vaccinated (have waited 2 weeks after 2nd shot) can remove their masks in most situations, as long as local government agrees it makes sense with their current pandemic situation.

    It does not currently make sense here at this time per our local health experts and leaders, because our percent of fully vaccinated isn’t high enough and we’re just coming out of a wave of higher disease rate.

    We will be able to follow this CDC guidance and then many can choose to drop the masks, IF we all get vaccinated, wear our masks, and continue to reduce covid spread in the community.

    We just have to have some patience and keep up our efforts for awhile longer.

    • zark00 May 21, 2021 (10:32 am)

      Wrong. Getting the vax is first and foremost about reducing the likelihood of severe illness and hospitalization from COVID.  Does nobody even understand the basics of this vaccine, what it does, and how it works.  Stop telling people the vax will stop them from spreading the virus.  Just stop saying anything about the virus if you’re as clueless as this. 

  • MM May 21, 2021 (9:16 am)

    Follow the CDC.

  • Pessoa May 21, 2021 (9:58 am)

    These are several answers provided by Michelle Walensky, CDC Director, that might clarify some issues raised here. (I haven’t bothered to include the questions, because they are self-evident.) The first answer deals with protection offered by the first shot, the second addresses a vaccinated person transmitting the virus. Ms. Walensky:  
    1) “There is significant immunity that is engendered two weeks after a single dose of the two-dose vaccines, and though the data is more robust for the approved two-dose schedules, countries that prioritized first doses took a reasonable approach.

    2) “I think the preponderance of the evidence supports the fact that vaccinated individuals are not able to spread the virus.” I will respect a businesses wishes to be be masked, but will also politely let them know that I pose no risk. I don’t boycott any business on the basis of masks. a side note, I’ve noticed several trends in which some feel they must interpret, explain and repackage health guidance for other’s consumption and secondly, those who feel like they are now Covid-19 therapists or conciliators.  Just provide an opinion, and maybe some support. We’re all adults here.     

    • Masks make good sense May 21, 2021 (1:33 pm)

      It’s Rochelle Wolensky, not Michelle. 

      And, lol, kind of seems like you are doing the very thing you are criticizing, along with cherry picking the info you share (with a bent towards minimizing concern during a pandemic), and then engaging in personal aggressive attacks on other commenters.

      This is a forum for community and sharing of information, opinions, and perspectives.

      How about you do your thing with commenting and let others do their thing, that would be adult-like.

    • Masks make good sense May 21, 2021 (1:41 pm)

      *Rochelle Walensky

    • Masks make good sense May 21, 2021 (8:02 pm)

      @Pessoa, some of us are trying to help share and clarify information that seems to be getting missed or confused, and doing so mostly out of concern and care, with some frustration and exhaustion with the ongoing divisions.

      You may not appreciate everyones contributions here, but hopefully you do some. I find some comments resonate more with me than others, but I appreciate the sharing, including different perspectives and styles. Thanks for sharing yours.

      I’m sure we could all work on having better conversations. I’ll be keeping that in mind.

  • Mj May 21, 2021 (2:35 pm)

    For over a year now, everyone said follow the science.  The science says if you are fully vaccinated you do not need to wear a mask except on public transit, airplanes, hospitals, prisons.  This guideline is not at all confusing, the science has spoken!

Sorry, comment time is over.