The COVID-19 threat seems to be easing once again but there also seems to be confusion over whether we should stuff our masks in a drawer or keep them handy.
In a recent interview with NBC News, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said it's time for most people to put the masks away.
“I would say put your masks in a drawer, anticipate you may need them again and hope that we don't,” she said.
Dr. Walnesky predicts COVID will turn into a seasonal virus like the flu.
Infectious disease expert, professor John Swartzberg believes we will get there, but we’re not there yet.
“We know that wearing a mask indoors keeps you safe. That should be the default unless you have assurances that the people you’re around aren’t infected and aren’t going to spread the virus to you,” he said.
There is still a lot of uncertainty about what the future could hold as the omicron variant continues to be the dominant strain in the U.S.
The CDC is actively looking for others – but right now – it says it sees no evidence of new variants on the horizon.
But will that always be the case?
“It is impossible to say. We can decrease our chances by getting more and more people vaccinated,” said Walensky.
California’s mask mandate has been lifted, but a lot of people shopping at a San Leandro outlet mall are still covering their faces.
“I’m really used to wearing it so when I go in a store I automatically put the mask on,” said Domecia Jasper of Oakland.
But others left their masks at home.
“I’m fully vaccinated with a booster shot so I feel kind of safe about it,” said a shopper.