As schools take the decision of mandatory masking into their own hands, officials with the Michigan State Medical Society said Monday that everyone should wear a face covering indoors regardless of vaccination status.
To date, no statewide mask requirement exists, though more than half of Michigan’s public school students are under some sort of mandate through declarations made by their individual counties.
MSMS President Dr. Pino Colone, in a statement, noted that with the rise of COVID-19’s Delta variant across the country, masking would be the most effective effort to combat transmission regardless of vaccination status and age. He added that doing so “will help slow the spread of the Delta variant, prevent further outbreaks, keep schools open and ultimately save lives.”
“Simply put, it’s the right thing to do,” Mr. Colone said. “And while it remains true that getting vaccinated is the very best way to stay protected against COVID-19, wearing a mask also makes a big difference in reducing the transmission of the virus, which will go a long way towards further protecting our state’s most vulnerable residents, including all who are still too young to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The statement from the organization made no mention of whether it wants a statewide mandate.
So far, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has hesitated on reissuing a statewide mask mandate for all residents, not just for students under 12 years of age who are unable to get the vaccine. When asked about it, she indicated that recommended masking had been worked into K-12 guidance for schools to reduce the spread of COVID among teens and children.
However, there was no mention of a wider mask mandate for older and vaccinated persons. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, during a press conference earlier this month, said that “many other things have to be considered when it comes to implementing a mask mandate,” though that comment was explicitly related to implementing a mask mandate in schools.
Gongwer News Service reached out to the Whitmer administration regarding the possibility of a statewide mask mandate, though a request for comment was not returned in time for publication.
“Please do your part to protect those around you,” Mr. Colone said, in closing. “Mask up, and if you are experiencing COVID symptoms, please get tested and contact your physician.”