Oh what a relief that the vaccinated among us can go without masks in many situations. But for hospitals and health centers, public transportation and a few other limited circumstances, those who have had the required vaccines are free to move about without masks.
It took hearing this from Dr. Anthony Fauci, our recognized expert on all things COVID-19, for us to believe it’s okay to go without masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a revised mask policy in late April, and we didn’t listen. The nation’s health agency issued a statement and an infographic. President Joe Biden hailed it as a landmark moment. We shrugged.
But when Fauci said it Thursday, masks started coming off.
It is a milestone to be marked with some joy after a year of much pandemic pain. More than 580,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 or virus-related illnesses. Hundreds continue to die daily.
We all have to do our part, still. Unfortunately, too many of us are not being helpful. There are too many unvaccinated.
Biden would like to see 70% of Americans vaccinated by the Fourth of July. But fewer than half of Americans have had at least the first shot. In Louisiana, only 33% of our state’s population has had at least one vaccine dose and only 29% are fully vaccinated. That makes it challenging to reach the president’s goal.
According to a recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, 34% of the unvaccinated surveyed said they will not get a vaccine and only 11% said they definitely will.
We’re not going to get 100% vaccine cooperation, but we can do better. We need more unvaccinated people to step up, get vaccinated and help us become a healthier society and state.