Bay Area residents consider wearing face masks again as COVID cases surge

ByLeslie Brinkley KGO logo
Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Bay Area residents consider masking up again amid COVID surge
As COVID numbers continue to surge, some Bay Area counties are revisiting their masking recommendations and residents are reconsidering masking up.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As COVID-19 numbers continue to surge upwards, some Bay Area counties are revisiting their masking recommendations. Not mandates, but recommendations.

It all looks so festive and a fun time to reconnect with family and friends. But there is this hanging over our heads. "If you're going out in public right now you're going to be encountering these viruses, you have a high likelihood of getting infected with them," Dr. John Swartzberg with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health said.

Santa Clara County is the first to slip back into a "high tier" for COVID - a level where the CDC recommends wearing a mask in public places. Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano and Napa counties moved to "medium tier" which triggers universal masking for jails and homeless shelters.

MORE: Masks will now be required at these places in Alameda Co. due to rising COVID levels

"I personally won't go into an indoor building in public without a mask on. I see no reason to take or add to my risk of getting COVID," Dr Swartberg said.

The CDC says that 68% of new infections are the BQ.1 and BQ1.1 variants which can better evade immunity from vaccines and prior infections.

Immunity is not all or nothing. Experts say getting the bivalent booster does get you a step or two closer to having better immunity. But only 13% of people have gotten it.

"I just don't want to get anything - RSV, flu, COVID, anything like that. When I'm in stores that aren't busy, I don't mask up but definitely I wash my hands more often and wear a mask in crowds. Airports especially. Travelling - absolutely," Benicia resident Randy Villanueva said.

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"I still wear it all the time because COVID is here again. I work in the medical field and there are a lot of COVID patients," Arlene Cua of San Pablo said.

Monica Wade of Antioch says she might consider wearing a mask again since COVID numbers are going up. Orinda resident Meredith Kingre says "I'll wear a mask if anyone else would prefer it that way, if they feel safer. But for my own health, I feel okay not wearing one."

If people weren't wearing masks a month ago, some are starting to now.

Sergio Melenic of Hercules says it's "because you're helping yourself and helping others."