The CDC may have lifted it’s mask guidance for indoor and outdoor activity, but there is a whole slew of exceptions and the public health bureaucrats have left it up to individual states, companies, and places of employment to determine whether to require masks or not.
Hawaii will still require you to wear a mask while on the islands. Kroger grocery stores announced that their mask policy will remain unchanged. Many other cities and localities are reviewing the CDC guidelines before giving a green light to their subjects on whether they can ditch the mask.
You will still have to wear a mask on buses, trains, and planes. Hospitals and nursing homes, prisons, homeless shelters — all will still require that you wear a mask.
But it’s not just that you’ll need to wear a mask in those locations. There will be circumstances that may arise in the next few months that may start this madness all over again.
What you can be sure of is that the odds are good that most of the strangers passing through a public place, masked or not, are not fully vaccinated. Only about one-third of the population has been, which means they received their final shots more than two weeks ago.
CDC officials no doubt intended to lift the spirits of pandemic-weary Americans as well as give vaccination foot-draggers incentive to get their shots (oddly, the threat of a painful prolonged death isn’t quite enough for some). But this well-intentioned announcement is likely to confuse people and lead to more resistance to mask wearing among unvaccinated people, as well as put pressure on state and local health officials to drop mask mandates earlier than is wise.
With only one-third of the nation fully vaccinated, the chances are very good that there will be local outbreaks of the virus that will be serious enough for authorities to justify strapping on the mask again. This will be especially true in densely populated big cities, where the chances that many unmasked, unvaccinated people could come in contact with Covid-infected individuals is fairly high.
Government officials wouldn’t dare order vaccine passports, given the stink that’s been made about them after just broaching the idea. So, in the end, it’s a gamble. How do you know that the guy screaming Yankee-hate sitting next to you at the ballgame is vaccinated or not? That sweet little old lady at the grocery store may be an anti-vax zealot and refuse to be vaccinated. What then?
We’ll never see the rates of infection
or numbers of severely ill that we were seeing at the beginning of this year again. But that won’t prevent local public health officials from throwing their weight around if a threshold of infections is crossed. You can be sure that any threshold that would trigger action will be fairly low.