As masks drop along Carnival parade routes, health expert warns, ‘Covid is still here’

Published: Feb. 20, 2022 at 12:08 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Revelers out enjoying the return of Carnival celebrations Sunday (Feb. 20) said they’re trying not to let COVID-19 fears rain on their parades.

“We’re very excited. (It’s) real fun, just getting together with the whole family. It’s great to see people out here,” said Mark Vinsanau.

“I feel pretty comfortable out here with no mask. We’re outdoors. I feel like it’s behind us.”

“I’m fully vaccinated,” said Roxanne Miller. “So, I feel like I’m well prepared.”

Health educator Dr. Eric Griggs said watching the images from the first major Mardi Gras weekend in New Orleans since 2020, one might think there was no pandemic at all.

“From the looks of it, it seems like people think it’s over,” Dr. Griggs said. “I don’t see much masking. I don’t necessarily advise that.

“Covid is still here. Variants are still going around. People are still testing positive.”

While some state health leaders have said they believe it’s possible to safely attend Mardi Gras parades with their families, maintaining discipline about masking and social distancing are key.

“In theory, I’d stay away, wear a mask, try to stay with your pod, be as careful as possible,” Dr. Griggs said. “I’d test a day or two after I’ve been out there.”

Dr. Griggs said he knows many medical professionals have spent the past two years having to be the bearers of bad news, but that it’s important even during Carnival season to keep practicing Covid safety measures.

“It feels like we’re close (to easing restrictions),” Dr. Griggs said. “But we’ve felt like this before. Then there was a variant. Alpha came around. Then Delta came around.

“We do want to enjoy this moment. For our mental health, it’s a relief. I mean I’ve never seen so many smiles.”

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