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Will wearing face masks become the ‘new normal’ after the pandemic has passed?


With COVID-19 vaccines being administered around the world, many are now wondering when will things get back to normal.

Experts say sporting events and even going shopping at your favorite store may never go back to how it was.

Some of the practices we picked up during the pandemic may be here to stay.

“Some things will stay with us,” said Dr. Stephan Podrygula.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, handwashing and covering your mouth when you sneezed or coughed was normal — but for some, wearing a face mask was completely new.

Dr. Podrygula added, “People are more aware of each other. I think hopefully they are becoming a little more sensitive regarding their own health and the impact their behavior can have.”

People in countries like Japan and South Korea wore face masks pre-pandemic to protect against air pollution. They were used even more during the SARS outbreak in 2002.

And for those people who have auto-immune disease, it’s apart of their everyday life.

“I think we will see more attention during critical periods. For example during the flu season in the fall,” he added.

As we near the halfway point for the influenza season, heightened safety practices to protect from covid seem to be impacting flu case numbers.

“Last year’s influenza season was a little unusual because we saw a large spike of influenza B early in the season which is not a trend that we are seeing this year,” said North Dakota Department of Health Epidemiologist, Levi Schossletr.

According to the CDC, flu numbers are down 98%. Here in North Dakota, there have been 114 confirmed cases of the flu. This time last year, there were over 2,000.

So after the pandemic is over, will a cloth face covering be apart of your everyday wardrobe?

We asked a few people.

“I would, you know. Just to be safe you know,” said Lewis Peterson, Minot resident.

A few others agreed off-camera, but some disagreed., saying as soon as they can stop wearing masks they will.

But one thing we can all agree on is we look forward to the day that we can get back to some sense of normalcy.

Experts say although flu cases are down that doesn’t mean that cases can’t rise later in the year.
They recommend frequent handwashing and staying home when sick.

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