Update: You don’t have to wear masks as long as you are fully vaccinated and are not in a crowd. That doesn’t mean “No more masks ever you’re good!” it’s more “You now have a wider access to some things.” Still try to stay outdoors, still stay away from large groups, still stay safe. Personally, I plan to keep wearing mine to feel safe and because I like making faces at people under my mask. I can’t tell you what to do, only advise you to make the safest decision for yourself.
It may be easy to push the pandemic out of the way now that people are finally getting vaccinated. And while our shared situation is improving, there is still work to do, as well as work that must be maintained. We have not reached a good level of herd immunity yet. People who haven’t gotten the vaccine yet are still at risk. Due to supply limits we are prioritizing the people most at risk to get the vaccine the quickest, that leaves the rest of us who are in the least amount of danger to keep each other out of danger. An article by UNC healthcare outlines very clearly what people should be doing before and after the vaccine. Before you’re vaccinated you should be maintaining basic hygiene: washing hands regularly, quarantining at home if you’re sick, staying 6 feet apart, as well as continuing to wear a mask. After the vaccine you should continue what you were doing before, staying hygienic, wearing a mask, ect. Doctors haven’t vaccinated everyone and are not sure if it prevents asymptomatic infection (Asymptomatic means people with COVID who are not showing any symptoms, but can still pass on the virus). If what the UNC doesn’t convince you, check out what Doctor Fauci has said, the following quote comes from an interview he did with the news site Scientific American. (Do note that this interview was in December of 2020, so it is a little dated.)
Q: Coronavirus infections are surging exponentially. Can we still get them under control?
A: “Yes, absolutely. I’ve been saying this every day. If we, uniformly throughout the country, implement public health guidelines—wearing masks, keeping physically distanced, avoiding crowded situations, doing things outdoors more than indoors and washing hands frequently—I believe we will see an effect. We know from experience that the states or cities or countries that have done this have always been able to blunt and mitigate the slope of a surging curve such as this one.”
Q: What are your major concerns for vaccine distribution?
A: “We hope to get the overwhelming majority of people in this country vaccinated. We have the logistics under Operation Warp Speed and General Gustave Perna [Operation Warp Speed’s chief operations officer] to put vaccines into the trucks, trains, planes and whatever it is that gets them to where they need to go. But then local public health officials will need the capability and resources to distribute the vaccines in an equitable way. It’s going to be a big task to vaccinate more than 300 million people—a very prodigious project.”
There’s more than a few similarities between these two, and 3 months apart we still have the same goal. We need to continue doing what we’ve been doing to keep people safe, and continue to be patient while the very daunting task of vaccinating the millions in America takes place. But as Fauci says in the interview although it’s “A very prodigious project” it becomes a much easier task when each of us do what we’re able to stay safe and keep our friends and family safe. Stay hygienic, stay safe.