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When is it okay to stop wearing a mask?

South of the border, Americans have started ditching their masks after the CDC has said it is safe for those who are fully vaccinated to do so when outdoors and not in large crowds. More than half of all US adults are fully vaccinated, while only 4 percent of all Canadians have been fully vaccinated.

Canada has begun ramping up its vaccination efforts, with millions of doses of vaccines set to arrive in the next month; many Canadians are now asking if Canada will begin loosening mask mandates here as well. 

"The key to no masks is a low likelihood of transmission in the community, and the key to that will be the level of vaccination,” said Doug Manuel, a senior scientist with The Ottawa Hospital who does modeling of local COVID-19 numbers.

Canada could reach herd immunity if 70 to 80 percent of Canadian adults are fully vaccinated, and loosening restrictions would then be up for discussion. However, the modeling suggests that vaccinations won’t bring down the numbers significantly until early September. Canada is also battling four different variants currently, all of which the vaccines have shown varying degrees of successful protection against. These variants could mean a fourth wave for Canada over the summer months.

With all that being said, what we know for sure is that getting vaccinated will reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from occurring if you’ve contracted Covid-19 or one of the variants, and the only way back to some sense of normalcy is reaching herd immunity through vaccination. We know that wearing masks and social distancing has been successful in protecting against the virus so far and should continue to be utilized until such a time when we’ve reached herd immunity and have the variants under control.

More information on the Vaccine’s effectiveness: