Although more than 60 percent of Americans are up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccines, the pandemic isn’t over — and despite the lifting of mask mandates in many parts of the United States, neither is mask-wearing. Cases among the unvaccinated and breakthrough cases are still posing a threat with tens of thousands of new cases daily. As a result, the CDC still recommends masks for all people in areas deemed high risk and for anyone who is unvaccinated. And while New York City mayor Eric Adams recently announced plans to roll back certain COVID restrictions, including mask mandates in public schools and proof of vaccination for indoor dining, many health experts believe masking is still an important tool in fighting Omicron and the newer BA.2 sub-variant. For now, mask mandates on planes, trains, subways, and buses remain in effect, and individual businesses have the right to require masks if they choose. So you’ll likely still encounter situations in which masks are strongly recommended, if not required. In light of how quickly the Omicron variant and BA.2 can spread, health officials are now recommending disposable masks that offer higher filtration such as KN95, KF94, and N95 masks over less effective reusable fabric masks. “Even though this variant may be milder, it spreads much more easily (replicating 70 times faster in our airways) and in unvaccinated and high-risk individuals can still be very dangerous,” says Dr. Purvi Parikh, an immunologist with NYU Langone Health.