COVID-19 is still easily transmissible and case counts tend to tick upward when people head indoors during fall and winter.
For two years, health officials stressed the importance of wearing masks when spending time indoors in order to help lower the risk of catching and spreading COVID-19. That guidance has been especially important during the fall and winter months when more people head indoors and respiratory viruses like COVID are known to thrive.
But as the pandemic appears to be winding down and case numbers and hospitalizations decline, what is the current rule of thumb surrounding mask wearing for this fall and winter? Are masks still necessary? Where and when should they be worn? And will it even be possible to get people to start wearing masks again, when many have stopped donning them altogether and very few businesses require them?
With the fall season just around the corner and COVID cases expected to tick up again, here's a closer look at what experts suggest regarding mask wearing for the months ahead: