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Faculty in the News: When Do Masks Come Off? The Hard Truth About Lifting Covid Restrictions

Dr. Jay K. Varma, director of the Cornell Center for Pandemic Preparedness and Response and professor of population health sciences at Weill Cornell Medicine, is an expert on the prevention and control of diseases. In a guest essay in The New York Times, “When Do Masks Come Off? The Hard Truth About Lifting Covid Restrictions,” Dr. Varma wrote that decisions about COVID-19 restrictions must account for more than any current metric or combination of them. These numbers keep changing and, eventually, states may stop daily and weekly COVID-19 case counting as at-home tests become more available. Even with this data, policymakers must do their best to balance public outrage and dissatisfaction with mitigation measures in different communities and public spaces. Simply put, the data alone cannot determine when mask mandates and other restrictions should be lifted. 

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