Once COVID-19 Hits Endemicity, Wearing Face Masks Will be Optional, says OCTA

People wearing face masks as protection against the coronavirus disease queue outside a government office, in Caloocan City, Metro Manila, Philippines on February 1, 2021. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

MANILA, Philippines — The independent group, OCTA Research, indicated that using a facemask is only permissible once the country is close to Endemic.

According to OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David, waves of infections are becoming less severe; the country is now transitioning from a pandemic to an endemic approach.

“That’s the hope- na maging endemic na tayo… Ang pinaka-concern na lang natin ay kung magkaroon ng variant na malala tulad ng Delta. Pero, so far, wala naman tayong nakikitang ganyan.” 

OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David

(That is the hope- that we will be endemic, Our biggest concern is if we have a variant as bad as Delta. But, so far, we have not seen anything like that.)

David also said that people might not have to wear face masks if endemicity is reached and the metrics they use are in good shape.

“Naka tie-in ito (face mask mandate) doon sa level of cases, yung health care utilization, at saka yung booster level,” David said.

(The face mask mandate is tied in at the level of cases, the health care utilization, and booster level)

“So definitely, lalo na kung magkatotoo na baka mag-endemic na, definitely this is in the pipeline. This is possible in the future.”

(So definitely, especially if it turns out that it might be endemic, definitely this is in the pipeline. This is possible in the future.)

However, even though wearing a mask is still part of the protocol that has been enforced, some people choose not to cover their faces in public. 

Currently, there is a noticeable rise in COVID-19 cases across the country. The number of people who test positive for the virus in the Philippines has reportedly increased to 9.6 percent, as reported by OCTA.

David underlined that there is no set period when endemicity may be proclaimed but that it might happen soon if the number of new cases begins to fall.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. also stated earlier that the government might make it optional to wear face masks if the COVID-19 situation in the country is seen as safe and the booster rollout is successful.

Marcos has also urged local governments to perform mass booster vaccinations for schoolchildren to guarantee that students could return to face-to-face lessons without risk and that the economy could re-open completely.

“Gawin na natin ito para makatiyak na tayo, at kapag maging matagumpay ang ating booster rollout ay makikita naman natin siguro, pwede na natin ibaba ang alert level, pwedeng na natin gawin optional ang mask.”


(Let’s do this so we can ensure that, and once our booster shots become successful, we would see that, maybe, we could lower the alert levels, and we could also make face masks optional.)

“Pero hindi po natin gagawin ‘yan hanggang maliwanag na maliwanag na safe na talaga. Dahil, although so far maganda naman ang takbo, hindi naman napupuno ang mga ospital. Ngunit kung hindi tayo maingat, mapupunta na naman tayo doon,” he added.

(But we will not do that until it’s very clear that the situation is really safe. Because, so far, the situation is good, our hospitals are not getting full. But if we are not careful, we could return to the old situation.)

Leave a Reply