The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended last week that adults who have been fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks outdoors or indoors to protect themselves from the transmission of COVID-19.

The announcement was met with much enthusiasm across the country, but others felt the news was premature and confusing.

The CDC argues they are just following the science, citing they do not make policy but only offer recommendations based on fact. Others counter, suggesting the announcement disincentivizes unvaccinated individuals from wearing a mask in public.

Both sides have solid points, knowing how effective the vaccine is for a massive amount of people and how those unwilling to receive the vaccine will most likely continue their obstinate behavior and not wear a mask.

With those two realities before me, I have made a conscious decision: Even though I am fully vaccinated, I will continue wearing a mask indoors in public settings for several reasons.

Reason No. 1 – Wearing a mask is still one of the most effective ways to protect others from contracting COVID-19.

Even though the risk is minimal, there is still a possibility that I could pass the virus along to others who are not vaccinated. The virus is still potent, causing life-altering effects and possible death.

As a person of good faith, I find it my responsibility to care for others as Jesus taught.

Even when people are acting irrationally and obstinately when it comes to a life-saving vaccine, my faith guides me to do what I can to care for them when they will not care for themselves. They are still my neighbors.

Reason No. 2 – My wife and I have friends with little ones who are still ineligible to receive the vaccine.

The CDC still recommends mask-wearing for any unvaccinated child, as possible variants of the virus could potentially emerge.

Out of respect for my little friends and to keep setting a good example, I will continue to wear a mask for their sake.

Jesus once said, “Let the little children come to me.” The Gospels are obvious that Jesus deeply cared for children, seeking to protect them and teach them throughout his life. As a follower of his, I seek to mimic his example.

Reason No. 3 – Unfortunately, history has taught me that there are people in the world willing to lie for the sake of others’ misfortune.

From English colonists in the 17th century to insurrectionists on Jan. 6, 2021, the fact remains that a large part of society will lie to gain advantages over others.

For over a year, I heard individuals – even at the height of the pandemic – reject the existence and severity of COVID-19.

Some claimed it was a hoax by the deep state. Others acknowledged its reality but considered it just like the common flu and asserted it would eventually fade away.

For those reasons alone, I cannot help but assume that unvaccinated people will enter public areas unmasked, claiming they are vaccinated and posing a danger to other unvaccinated adults and children.

In addition, they potentially could be a threat to me if they happen to carry a variant not covered within my vaccine.

Reason No. 4 – Over the last year while wearing a mask in public, I have noticed something peculiar about my health. I felt better than I have in several years.

I have allergies and live in an area where pollen can be challenging. In addition, I have been subjected to a cough the last several winters, but this winter my cough never surfaced.

Therefore, while I have made a short-term commitment to keep wearing a mask in public, I am also considering it becoming a part of my winter and spring routines.

I know it may look strange moving forward as we move ever closer to an unmasked society, but those around me won’t have to hear me cough in the winter or sneeze in the summer.

I hope others will consider joining me by keeping their masks on in public.

While there are so many encouraging and positive signs emerging on a daily basis, the pandemic is not quite over. There are still hot spots, like India, spiraling out of control.

Let’s finish the race to defeat this virus once and for all. As Paul encouraged, “Run the race to win it.”

Ready? Set? Put on your mask.

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