Evan Jones, a local resident who deals with health issues and is often around others who are immunocompromised, still wears his mask all the time.
Jones said people like him are marginalized by practices that others have considered "normal," like not wearing masks.
“If you view the public as all having the same standards of how they interact and how their bodies work, we typically see people kind of erase people, say, with certain health conditions, disabilities,” he said.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks Orange County at a high COVID-19 Community Level, based on weekly metrics regarding case rates, new COVID-19-related admissions to hospitals and the percentage of staffed inpatient beds with confirmed infection.
Orange County lifted its mask mandate nearly a year ago.
At this level, the CDC recommends that community members wear masks indoors in public as well as on public transportation and that high-risk individuals consider taking additional precautions.
“Sometimes I wonder if people will look at me like, ‘Oh, isn’t that over?’” Jones said. “And it’s not like my parents are aging in reverse, or the people in my life who are immunocompromised are suddenly magically not at risk.”
Karen Daniels, a resident of Carrboro and physics professor at N.C. State University, still wears her mask when in public spaces and has noticed that many of those around her are continuing to do the same.
“I think that, when compared to other places, our local environment is better about this,” she said. “There’s still a lot of people wearing them.”