CDC officials ask that face masks be worn as COVID-19 surges again, but some Oklahomans are resistant

Coronavirus

OKLAHOMA (KFOR) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Americans who live in high COVID-19 transmission areas should mask up while indoors regardless if they’ve been vaccinated or not. However, some local business owners told KFOR they’re not going backwards without a fight.

“I don’t want to do it again either,” said OU Health’s Chief COVID-19 Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler. “We just have to recognize we’re dealing with a whole new variant.”

According to the CDC, COVID-19 Integrated County View map, nearly two thirds of U.S. counties are in high transmission rate areas; that includes 56 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties.

“Let there be no questions, COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in Oklahoma right now,” said Dr. Bratzler.

The doctor said closed indoor spaces can be a breeding ground for the Delta variant, spreading mostly through droplets in the air.

“The Delta variant is highly contagious. A thousand to 1,200 times more virus in your respiratory track than with the original virus, so it spreads from person to person very easily,” said the doctor. “If we slow the transmission of the virus, there’ll be fewer mutations that result in these new variants.”

Photo goes with story
Metro residents wearing face masks while in public.

However, after more than a year of masks, social distancing and self isolation, many are reluctant to go backwards.

“There were a lot of people who sought us out because we weren’t wearing masks,” said Isaac Williams, owner of Coffee Slingers in Automobile Alley.

Williams said his shop ditched the masks before Oklahoma City’s mask ordinance even expired back in April. He said that move brought in more customers.

“When we tell them no and they hear that, you can hear the excitement in their voice and they seek us out because of that,” said Williams.

The coffee shop owner said he and his employees are not going to backtrack.

“If Oklahoma City makes us wear masks again…we’re not going to. They may have to come knock on our door and fine us,” he said.

“If you’re not comfortable [going to restaurants], get carry out. Support the business. Keep them running,” said Dr. Bratzler.

State Epidemiologist Jolianne Stone issued the following statement on the revised CDC guidance:

“The Oklahoma State Department of Health has and will continue to follow CDC guidance regarding COVID-19. With today’s revisions by the CDC, we want to reiterate the importance of taking personal responsibility for protection against COVID-19. Additionally, we continue to encourage those who are eligible to get vaccinated.”

JOLIANNE STONE, STATE EPIDEMIOLOGIST

News 4 also reached out to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s office, which said the governor does not have any plans to issue a state of emergency declaration.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage

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