Spain is finally considering removing the mask indoors. Other countries have been months without it (successfully)

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Yesterday, Pedro Sánchez surprised everyone by announcing that in Spain “the necessary condition is met” to lift the mandatory nature of the mask indoors. It was in a press conference with Mette Frederiksen, the Danish Prime Minister. Indeed, Denmark is from February 2 one of four European countries that have already lifted most of their COVID-related restrictions.

What has Pedro Sanchez said? “We have shared that, indeed, the necessary condition [para quitar la mascarilla en interiores] it is to have a percentage of vaccination like the one that Spanish or Danish societies have”, explained Sánchez. This is interesting because, if we compare the vaccination rates, we see that in Spain 91% of the population has the full schedule and 49.7% has a booster dose, while in Denmark 81.7% have been reached % and 62%, respectively.

New York has already eliminated indoor masks.  It's a matter of time that we all go behind

Denmark withdraws the masks with a much worse situation than the Spanish. However, the number of infections in the Nordic country is much higher: Denmark is having 6,145 cases per million while Spain is at 626, almost 10 times less. Why hasn’t the restriction been lifted in Spain if the epidemiological situation is much better? Unfortunately, the president did not elaborate on when, how or why a decision that in many countries is considered the “symbolic” end of the pandemic will be made.

A European (and international) trend. However, the trend is clear. The last European country to join the elimination of the mask indoors has been France (that it will stop using it in spaces that require the vaccination passport to enter). The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Finland have eliminated it; and Poland has already announced it will do so in March. Outside the continent, California, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington DC and New York have also been doing so in recent weeks. Although Israel has not yet removed the mask, it has just announced that opens its tourism even to unvaccinated people and prepare for it.

The Swedish case But the most interesting case is Sweden where masks have not become mandatory. At most, its use was recommended in public transport at peak hours in case it was not possible to maintain a safe distance. Despite this, the incidence in the Nordic country is currently half that of Spain.

Other restrictions (such as the maximum of eight people per group when visiting a restaurant or the time restrictions in bars) they retired on February 9 when the Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, announced that it was “time to reopen” the country under the prism that “the worst consequences of the pandemic are behind us”.

Can you survive the pandemic without masks? It is clear that Sweden is an exceptional case since the start of the pandemic, but it shows that despite the fact that Omicron caused many restrictions to be activated again, its real effect was not weighed. Sweden is just the official case of many lax countries with masks. Whether it is because surgical masks were not as effective against Omicron as against previous variants, or because population immunity was higher, the truth is that it is difficult to relate a better epidemiological situation to the use of the mask indoors. And as the weeks go by, it will be more and more.

A question that remains unanswered. A few weeks ago, the Spanish Association of Pediatrics asked to delete the mask remove the mask from schools from February 28 and some communities have supported the proposal. That seems to be the next step in the progressive elimination of the mask indoors, but we do not yet have a calendar in this regard. And it is that, at the gates of the next tourist seasonthe big question in the coming months will be precisely that: When will we stop wearing a mask indoors?

Image | Sergio Perez/Reuters

Yesterday, Pedro Sánchez surprised everyone by announcing that in Spain “the necessary condition is met” to lift the mandatory nature…

Yesterday, Pedro Sánchez surprised everyone by announcing that in Spain “the necessary condition is met” to lift the mandatory nature…

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