Today Gov. Greg Abbott announced he was lifting the mandatory mask mandate for the state on March 10 as the number of COVID-19 infections continues to decrease. While the downward trend is a great milestone for our community, we must not forget the necessity of continuing to protect ourselves, our families, our friends and our neighbors. As the governor said, withdrawing the mandate does not mean withdrawing your personal responsibility to wear a mask. Even if it is not mandated, as your Pulmonary Physician, I urge all my patients to wear our masks until enough of our community is vaccinated that we approach herd immunity. Besides being vaccinated, wearing a mask is the most effective way to keep infections down and begin to return to normal. We encourage you to make the personal decision to keep wearing your mask. Because when we do the right thing, we can stop the spread together.