Are we there yet?
Recovery, the phase of the COVID -19 pandemic that we have all been waiting for, appears to be underway in the United States. This is the phase during which we focus on restoration and the return to normalcy.
One of the primary indications that we are on the road to recovery is the change of Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidance on masks and social distancing. The CDC’s current guidance is that persons who have been fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks outdoors or indoors and do not need to keep their distance from others. This guidance is based primarily on the current low positivity rates, low hospitalizations and increasing vaccinations. Currently, approximately 37% of Americans are fully vaccinated. This means that they have had both injections of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one injection of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and have been vaccinated for at least 14 days.
COVID-19 cases are down around the country. Thirty-six states have reported significant declines in COVID-19 cases. For the first time since March of 2020, Texas had the first day of no COVID-19 related deaths. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have now been approved for children ages 12-15 years of age. In addition, treatments, including monoclonal antibodies, are available. However, vaccines have not been approved for children under 12. They should continue to wear masks and practice social distancing. Also, individuals with compromised immune systems should consult their doctor before going without a mask, even if fully vaccinate.
While the cruise ship companies have announced plans to resume operations in July and many Americans are making plans for summer travel, is the pandemic over? Not completely. For example, countries like India, are still in crisis. Some institutions and businesses are maintaining their mask requirements. Masks are also required in health care settings, airports, on trains and some other settings. We also do not know if or when booster shots will be needed. For now, we welcome signs of impending full recovery. Businesses are fully reopening, neighbors are returning to work and fully vaccinated persons can pursue their normal activities without masks or distancing. We may not be totally “there yet, ” but our final destination in clearly in view.
REMINDER: June is the start of Hurricane season. The time to prepare is NOW.