Wait, no more masks?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced fully vaccinated people can now resume regular activities, without masks, social distancing and constant hand sanitizing. After more than 10 months of “masks required,” this seem strange.

You can go to indoor restaurants and activities, hang out with other people and visit just about anywhere without any need for precautionary measures.

The movie theater opened a few weeks ago and masks are not required at the gym anymore.

You do not need to get tested or quarantine if you are traveling within most areas of the United States.

If you’ve been around someone with COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others.

Wait. Just like that? No more masks, distancing and sanitizing?

This abrupt decision seemed to cause confusion among states, communities, retails stores, schools, etc that are all trying to figure out exactly what the new guidelines mean. Remember, the guidance is for fully vaccinated people, which is only 37% of the United States population, and only 30% in my state.

Fully vaccinated means someone who has received the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and is two weeks out from the last dose.

My family has been fully vaccinated since last month. My boys were eligible to get the vaccine before I was, since they work in food service and are above the age of 16.

Society is still very much divided on the vaccine/no vaccine debate, and it continues to steer political, despite a new administration in the White House. There’s no way to tell if someone has been vaccinated or not, which means those unvaccinated folks will just stop wearing masks all together.

Health officials fear this could lead to a rise in cases again. Infectious disease doctors say herd immunity is reached once 70% of the population has been vaccinated. Conspiracy theories and misinformation about the vaccine are still spreading, which makes it difficult to convince others about the safety and need for the vaccine.

It’s not completely back to the “before times.” Masks are still required on public transportation (planes, buses, trains, etc), health centers and high crowded areas. Masks are also recommended for K-12 schools.

As of May 16, there are 162 million cases worldwide, 32 million in the United States, 314,000 cases in Kansas, 56,770 cases in Sedgwick County. More than 3.3 million people worldwide have died from COVID, more than 585,000 of them in the United States.

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