To the Editor:
The CDC has issued new COVID-19 guidance that says fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear face masks, even inside public buildings in the presence of other people. Let’s be clear: This is bad advice at this time.
From a narrow scientific perspective, it is true that vaccinated people have virtually no risk of contracting or spreading the virus. But out here in the real world, it’s irresponsible to suggest that anyone stop wearing masks. How can you tell if someone is fully vaccinated? That’s right, you can’t. Few people carry the official card with them, and with counterfeit cards easily available, that’s not a viable option anyhow.
Relying on the honor system is a noble but futile notion. We know darned well that a lot of our fellow citizens, unfortunately, will flout the regulations and go maskless, even though they’re unvaccinated. Since the beginning of the pandemic last year, there have been people denying the truth or the seriousness of COVID-19. Many of them have avoided wearing masks as much as they could, all along, even before the vaccines became available early this year. Yes, some folks are so irresponsible, they don’t want to wear masks and also don’t want to get vaccinated.
There are still new cases of COVID-19 every day. People are still dying of COVID-19. And less than half of Americans have even been vaccinated. We don’t need to get to 100%. There are very few medical conditions that would legitimately keep a person from being vaccinated, and there are some immunocompromised individuals (such as organ transplant recipients) whose bodies seem not to produce the antibodies even if vaccinated. But everyone without a medical issue should get vaccinated.
The former president, Donald Trump, did not take COVID-19 seriously. He frequently mocked the wearing of masks. But he deserves a little credit for helping to jump start the vaccine research and development. The CDC guidance is a testament to how effective the vaccines are. Trump supporters should be vaccine enthusiasts. We all want to reach the finish line. Just get vaccinated.