Calling Captain Obvious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now stated what has been clear to anyone following the scientific literature for the past few months: People who are two weeks past being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear masks indoors or outside, and need not maintain physical distance.
While the CDC once again invoked its mantra that it is “following the science,” as recently as last night, CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky advised everyone to wear masks indoors, even if they were fully vaccinated. It is unclear what changed overnight. Most likely, it was nothing new, just the accumulated evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines are over 90 percent effective in stopping viral transmission, even for the common variants, that convinced the hyper-cautious agency that vaccinated people are protected from infection and are unlikely to transmit the virus to others.
Over a third of the total population has been fully vaccinated. More importantly, almost half of those 18 and older have been vaccinated and 72 percent of the most vulnerable—those 65 and older who account for more than 80 percent of COVID-19 deaths—have been vaccinated. Eighty-four percent of the elderly have received at least one dose, which provides almost as much protection as the full two-dose regimen. Maybe the CDC is finally acknowledging what has been known for the past year: COVID-19 is a far less serious disease for those under 18, who account for less than 1/10th of 1 percent of deaths.
Now that they no longer have the cover of out-of-date CDC guidelines and false claims that they are just following the science, it will be interesting to see if governors and local leaders are willing to lift mask mandates for vaccinated people. Many of these politicians have imposed emergency restrictions that made little or no sense. Perhaps they will now allow their citizens to resume some semblance of a normal life and have teachers return to the classroom so that in-person learning can resume.