Are we there yet?
The CDC, in a bungled attempt at being…like…super chill, came out a few days ago and made the announcement that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in public. For about 0.00000015ths of a second I was excited. But then the realistic part of my brain started throbbing and smacked the idealistic and overly optimistic part of my brain back into 2021. I became dizzy, as is expected when one’s brain is involved in a physical altercation with itself, and when the dizziness subsided I was left frustrated, fearful and angry.
For the new CDC recommendations not to result in utter catastrophe, we must rely on this tragically flawed assumption: Anti-vaxxers are all of a sudden compliant, diligent, flaming pro-maskers. I’m sorry…did I miss the part where this became a thing? It also assumes that the anti-maskers who bitch and moan at the thought of the damn government requiring them to wear a small piece of cloth over their faces are flocking to vaccine clinics to get a Covid shot…at the recommendation of (gasp) the damn government. If someone could prove me wrong on this, please do!
If I’ve learned anything in my life, and the past year in particular, it is that a significant number of people in this country are pathologically entitled. And a significant number of people in this country are ignorant or simply don’t subscribe to facts, data, science or basic reasoning. And there is another subset of people who share the unfortunate combination of being both entitled and ignorant. And because these people exist and thrive in communities throughout our country, the new CDC announcement has not just given permission for the responsible, vaccinated individuals to go mask-less, it has emboldened the entitled, non-vaccinated, anti-maskers to slither back into society unabashedly unmasked and beholden to no one.
Last week, I felt incredibly safe taking my kids out in public, where everyone was uniformly masked. Now I’m exceedingly hesitant. If I see someone without a mask at Target, my first assumption is that they are not vaccinated. Because, when in doubt, you assume danger exists (at least I do). I make the assumption that is going to help me preserve my own health and wellbeing and that of my family. If I’m on a walk with my kids and we see a dog running down the street, we don’t assume it’s a sweet harmless little pup and grab it and smooch it. We assume it is mean and has rabies and might bite us. We keep our distance until we can ensure that the dog is safe. This is basic self-preservation.
For this reason, I will continue wearing a mask in public even though I am fully vaccinated. I will likely continue this practice until it is safe for everyone to go mask-less and AT LEAST until all of my children are vaccinated and all children have the option of being vaccinated. If a stranger sees me wandering the blessed aisles of Homegoods, I want her to feel safe in my presence and not wonder if I am putting her children at risk.
For those who care what physicians have to say about this, I will tell you that essentially ALL of my physician friends and colleagues share my sentiments. For those who have no Fs to give about what physicians have to say, you are part of the problem and are actively contributing to the drawing out of this pandemic.
I had another patient die of Covid-19 yesterday. It’s not over yet. Please don’t mistake the train off in the distance for the light at the end of the tunnel.
Damnit…we are not there yet! We are close, but we are not. there. yet.
Please get your vaccine. Please keep masking and distancing. Please be nice to healthcare workers. We are trying to keep you, ourselves, our kids and your kids safe.