KIRO Nights: Is it time for masks to go, or do we keep this ‘simple intervention?’

Feb 10, 2022, 11:55 AM | Updated: Feb 11, 2022, 9:02 am
Nurse Jason Doff removes his N95 mask after administering care in the acute care COVID-19 unit at the Harborview Medical Center on Jan. 21, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

As Oregon and California have set end dates for mask mandates, and Gov. Jay Inslee says Washington’s announcement on masks will come next week, should this decision be up to the politicians?

Washington’s outdoor mask mandate to be lifted Feb. 18; indoor to follow

KIRO Nights host Jack Stine maintains that mask wearing should be based on individual choice. And he plans to have a “relatively uneducated debate” with Billy Sunshine about whether kids should wear masks.

Until then, he asked Dr. William Zinnanti, MD, Ph.D., for his professional opinion.

“This is something that has been a real problem for us,” he replied. “It’d be nice if we had the public health officials actually ring in on this and provide their recommendations.”

“I understand — everybody wants to be without their mask, have their personal freedoms,” he continued. “I will remind everybody that zero children died from the flu last year, where normally we get 200-300 a year. And it’s because of mask wearing.”

There are, of course, pros and cons to mask wearing — as with everything, Zinnanti noted. But at the end of the day, he says masks are “a pretty simple intervention with a huge upside.”

Jack says he’s concerned there will be more COVID cases again when people start taking off their masks.

“There will be a dramatic uptick, the hospitals will get overloaded again, you will then have another set of nurses or practitioners who say, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore,’ ‘I’m going to go work for Big Pharma,’ or ‘I’m going to go into private practice,’ or whatever,” he shared.

“My concern is less about COVID and more about attrition,” Jack added. “I am so concerned about doctors and nurses saying, ‘I am done dealing with people dying in the hospital.'”

Dr. Zinnanti admits that’s a huge problem.

“It’s not just all the people, all the sickness and death you’re exposed to — it’s the fact that these people are taking swings at doctors and nurses,” he said.

Hear the full interview in Tuesday’s first hour of KIRO Nights:

Listen to KIRO Nights weeknights from 7 – 10 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

KIRO Nights on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to kiro nightsTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 7 pm for KIRO Nights with Jack Stine.

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KIRO Nights: Is it time for masks to go, or do we keep this ‘simple intervention?’