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Huntsville doctor believes Alabama's mask mandate should stay in effect

The mandate is set to expire Friday.

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 9:09 PM
Updated: Mar 3, 2021 9:09 PM

Alabama could be the next state to lift its mask mandate.

It is set to expire Friday. On Thursday, Gov. Kay Ivey will give an update regarding the state's health order.

However, health officials are warning it is too soon to lift the order.

"It certainly makes us very uncomfortable," Huntsville Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Hafsa Siddiqui said. "We fear what's going to happen if we are going to have another spike."

Siddiqui said it is too soon to ease up on coronavirus restrictions, especially since not enough people in our state are vaccinated.

"If two people, if everyone is vaccinated in the room, everyone has protection, you don't need to wear a mask," Siddiqui said. "Right now, the mask we're mandating or trying to say to keep doing it, because we don't have the population around more than 70 to 80 percent vaccinated."

She adds, even though you are vaccinated, it does not mean you can't contract coronavirus. You may just not show any symptoms. Therefore, wearing a mask would be more about protecting those around you.

"Because of my immunity, I won't develop any symptoms, but I may be carrying the virus, and I can give it to somebody who does not have immunity, who hasn't received the vaccine yet," Siddiqui said.

Coronavirus variants are also a cause for concern. Right now, Alabama has 37 confirmed cases of the variant believed to have originated in the U.K.

"New and newer strains are emerging, so there are also concerns that those new strains may not be covered by the current vaccine, may not be covered by the antibody treatment that we have," Siddiqui said.

Even if the governor decides to lift the mask mandate, Siddiqui said that does not mean Alabamians have to become less cautious.

"We form communities by individuals, so if individuals are working, are taking the right step, then we should be okay. Nobody's going to force us not to wear a mask, right?" Siddiqui said.

Gov. Kay Ivey's news conference is at 11 a.m. Thursday. WAAY 31 will carry it live on air and online.

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