The availability of coronavirus vaccines continues to increase throughout Southwest Missouri, allowing people the opportunity to live a more normal life. However, Doctors and health care professionals continue to preach the importance of wearing masks. Dr. Rob McNabb of Freeman Health System in Joplin believes that masks remain an essential tool in slowing the virus and that we should not rely on herd immunity. “The problem with that is to get to 70 percent immunization that way, with letting the infection spread, is that we know that mortality rate is about 2 percent, to get to herd immunity, well that’s a morality of about 6.5 million American citizens.” The mask mandate in Joplin expires at the end of this month. The mask mandate ordinance in Springfield is in effect until April 9th.