Mask mandate strategy update

We have been receiving a lot of questions about how much longer we will need to wear masks. We have been using the CDC guidelines as our benchmark. Based on the current infection rate we are looking at a target of below 10 daily cases per 100k and a transmission rate at or below 0.90 for at least 2 weeks. When we reach that we will propose removing the mask requirement.

Hopefully this helps everyone understand and to see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.


Is this at a city level? Dfw level? State level? Where are you looking for a negative r value?


Thanks for asking, We are looking at the DFW level.

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So if things continue this way, we should be able to change mask policies by the end of november. That’s good!


Where are you getting the DFW level number to decide this?
The link from @lukeiamyourfather didn’t bring up local trackers when I followed it.
Thanks for the help.

Maybe it didn’t load fully. You can pull up info for any county. For example Dallas. Hopefully the link works…

Screenshot if it doesn’t.


Thanks for posting the screen shot that helped me find the right page. When I follow the link, it just brings up a blank page. I think the link is a generated result and the direct links are not generating the page. I’m sure someone has some wizardry to make a link that can do the request given effort.

@kthompson395, Where are you seeing projections of this being cleared in the next 2 weeks?

Case Rate, based on Luke’s post is 88.29 per 100k, looking closely this seems to be a rolling 7 day average I believe. So, Current Daily would be 12.61 per day. Seeing a 21% drop at these small of numbers seems very unlikely to happen for months, especially when having to be held for 2 weeks without exceeding 10 for a single day. Add that the winter season and family travel should also increase number based on general understand on the virus.

It seems the DMS will be masked for a very long time still. Please correct me if I’m misunderstanding. It is very easy to get lost in all the extended numbers around COVID.

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also if we look at the trends from the past two years, people go home and gather assuming the virus plays along family lines and they won’t get it from a big thanksgiving gathering.

I’m being a pessimist but I think it’s going to get another jump after each of the big upcoming holidays


You mean the winter. Where people ( in some parts of the country stay inside… )

We’ll get a small bump. Delta has burned thru most of the available hosts already.

We’ll likely see more of a bump when it gets hot again.

Let’s revisit the case rate trend…oh about 10 days after Thanksgiving.


11 posts were split to a new topic: Let’s Talk About Stuff Tangentially Related to the Mask Strategy, but Not the Mask Strategy

I have yet to find a numeric transmission rate on the CDC site. One of the University of Texas sites has it.

I am curious about the rational that led to these specific numbers. They appear somewhat arbitrary, and extremely conservative. Cases in and of itself is a rather poor metric. Hospitalizations would be more meaningful.

Tracking cases is sooner in the pipeline. It’s like a smoke detector alerting someone to a potential fire so it can be assessed and dealt with while it’s still manageable. Paying attention to only hospitalizations is like the fire department showing up to a fully engulfed structure at which point it’s a much bigger problem with much worse outcomes.

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How will that work if the new variant plays out here like it has so far in other places: Very contagious, detectable by the same test, and very mild symptoms. Is that worth even worrying about ? It’ll show up on cases, but not hospitalizations.

Your smoke alarm analogy is seeing a lot of cooking smoke and is set a bit too sensitive in the first place.

Back to the numbers. 10 per 100K seems absurdly low. So low it appears to be an excuse to continue to me. I’d like to hear some justification for that number, preferably rooted in science. What does that metric represent ?

That’s not the relevant level the CDC has set if we’re going by CDC guidelines. More info about the levels is on the CDC website.

How they determined those numbers is a rabbit hole. Neither of us is an epidemiologist so it’s pointless to argue about. The WHO has similar levels (CT1, CT2, CT3, CT4) which is another rabbit hole to go down.


Thank you. That’s one half of the criteria. Although the point at which the CDC guidance I see marks the difference between “everyone should mask” and “unvaccinated should mask” appears to be at 50 new cases, not 10.

Now how about the

I see mention of percent positivity of tests, but not transmission rate. Transmission rate ( Rt ) would be harder to manipulate, but it’s also difficult to determine. And difficult to find on the CDC web page.

The current percent positivity is 5.73% ( screenshot attached ), which is also in the “Moderate” range, in which the CDC recommends non-vaccinated wear masks in public indoor spaces.

No mention of Rt. So was “transmission rate” incorrectly cited or was something else intended ?

Screen shot from COVID-19 County Check Tool | CDC

Personally, as a responsible vaccinated person, I’ll be wearing my mask for quite a while.

Why? Being vaccinated doesn’t prevent me from catching or spreading COVID. Discussion about masks showed that masks do the most good on the face of the infected person. I got the vaccine to boost my immune system to the point that I’m not likely to get seriously ill. I’m perfectly content wearing a mask in most venues to help the silly and the immune-compromised from catching the illness.


And I would never tell you or anyone else to NOT wear a mask if they so choose.

However, forcing everyone to do so is not acceptable to me.

The immune-compromised should not be at DMS or most other places right now without full bio-isolation gear.

As for silly, I figure those of you wearing a piece of cotton across your faces ( sometimes to include beards ) and expecting it to stop aerosol sized particulates fit that description far more than I.

The discussion was more about the criterion to remove the mandate though.

UTSW publishes the transmission rate. When looking thats were I found one.

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