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Kansas City, Missouri, physician: Masks needed where COVID-19 cases are spiking

Mayor Lucas reinstates indoor mask mandate for all
masks kc
Posted at 4:00 PM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 19:38:44-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — While doctors understand burnout related to wearing masks, one Kansas City, Missouri, physician said it's necessary in places like Missouri, where COVID-19 cases are spiking.

Roughly 41% of Missourians and 39% of Kansas Citians are fully vaccinated, prompting KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas to reinstate an indoor mask mandate, even for vaccinated people.

"People who have not been vaccinated rely on other individuals to receive their vaccines, so there's a higher level of protection and immunity in the community," Dr. David McKinsey, with Metro Infectious Disease Consultants, said. "But there are a number of breakthrough infections and individuals who receive the vaccine and still end up in the hospital with fairly severe cases of COVID."

Doctors in the metro have said most new COVID-19 cases are the delta variant, which is more contagious and also can infect vaccinated people. The vaccine, McKinsey said, doesn't prevent individuals from contracting COVID-19, but rather helps the body's immune system clear the virus out quickly.

"Once we reach herd immunity, when virtually everyone has either been infected or had the vaccine, at that point, the virus will not have a chance to continue to cause disease in the population and we can get back to normal," McKinsey said.

Many people thought normalcy was around the corner until the new mandate.

"I'm vaccinated and I had gotten used to not wearing it and I felt safe, I still do feel safe," Jim Fitzpatrick, a KCMO resident, said. "But as the tension kind of returns, I can see where it's a smart move."

Jordan Sanders, another resident, said that while people might not enjoy wearing masks, it's something "we have to do" because of low vaccination rates.

Others, like Linda Hyatt, said that the original mask mandate could have remained in place longer.

"Maybe we wouldn't be having as much issue and outbreak as we're having right now," Hyatt said.

Lisa Jackson, who has a child who isn't eligible to be vaccinated, said she continued wearing a mask after the original mandate ended.

"I'm just disappointed that we're looking into starting a new school year and people have been questioning whether or not we would be wearing masks," Jackson said.

KCMO's mask mandate will last at least through August.