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Morning Poll: Are you still wearing masks during ‘low’ Covid levels?

A discarded face mask in Crystal City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 12:10 p.m.) Two years ago, stores in Arlington were being picked clean of face masks, as COVID-19 started to spread in the United States. Today, for the first time in a long time, masks are becoming optional in county facilities.

It’s been an unusual round trip from those early days of the pandemic, when healthy people were being actively discouraged from wearing masks.

From a March 4, 2020 Time article:

“It seems kind of intuitively obvious that if you put something–whether it’s a scarf or a mask–in front of your nose and mouth, that will filter out some of these viruses that are floating around out there,” says Dr. William Schaffner, professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University. The only problem: that’s not effective against respiratory illnesses like the flu and COVID-19. If it were, “the CDC would have recommended it years ago,” he says. “It doesn’t, because it makes science-based recommendations.”

The science, according to the CDC, says that surgical masks won’t stop the wearer from inhaling small airborne particles, which can cause infection.

Soon enough, mainstream opinion among health professionals shifted decidedly to the pro-mask camp, to the extent that mask mandates became the norm in Arlington and elsewhere.

But with most of the population vaccinated, and with new antiviral treatments available, the CDC last week again adjusted its mask guidance, saying that masks should be optional in places where the levels of Covid and Covid-related hospitalizations are relatively low.

That includes Arlington.

Only about 90 cases and two daily hospitalizations were being reported per 100,000 Arlington residents, per week, as of Tuesday, according to Virginia Dept. of Health data. That is well below the 200 cases or 10 hospitalizations per 100,000 people per week that would push the county above the CDC-defined “low” levels.

So with county facilities, Arlington schools, the Pentagon and Congress now mask-optional, we’re wondering how our readers are handling the shifting guidance. Are you still wearing masks in some mask-optional situations, or are you going full maskless unless otherwise required, like on airplanes or in medical settings?

Let’s find out.

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Gemma meets a slew of thrill-seeking sea farers as she races to find the treasure before any pirates do. Encore Stage & Studio presents_ Treasure Island_ running October 14-23, 2022 at Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre (125 S. Old Glebe Rd. Arlington, VA 22204). 

Season subscriptions and single tickets are on sale now at www.encorestage.org. Single tickets are $15 for Adults; $12 for Children, Students, Military and Seniors. Season subscriptions begin at $33. Patrons can learn more about Encore’s COVID-19 audience procedures online at www.encorestage.org.

Performances dates:
Friday, October 14 at 7:30pm
Saturdays, October 15 and 22 at 11am and 3pm
Sundays, October 16 and 23 at 3pm

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Arlington kids can keep active this winter with Arlington County’s Department of Parks & Recreation’s Youth House Basketball League. Available for grades 1-12, this program begins in mid-November for grades 1-8 and early Jan. for grades 9-12 and costs between $75-90.

Come join the fun! Sign up by Oct. 12*!

Registration for grades 9-12 opens on Nov. 7.

If the league fee is a factor to signing up, check out the Department’s fee reduction program, which helps Everyone, Everywhere, Every Day! Access for All. Easy to apply! Whether you have a short-term set back or something longer-term. Learn more at parks.arlingtonva.us/fee-reductions or call 703-228-4747. 

Submit your own Community Post here.

Mini Photo Sessions for Family & Pets

Mini Family & Pet Photo Sessions
Beat the rush and sign up to get your holiday photos now!

Bring your kids! Bring your dogs!

Check out the DeSilva Studios website. Look at the images and see if you like them

Vini Franchetti Wine Dinner

Join us as we explore Vini Franchetti & their two sister vineyards Passopisciaro (Sicily) and Vini Franchetti (Tuscany) for our Sicily/Tuscany Wine Dinner!

Sunday, Oct 9 @ 6pm

Special Guest: This wine dinner we will be hosting the wine maker

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