By David M. Greenwald
Sacramento – California’s Department of Public Health put out new guidance for face coverings, superseding the previous guidance from November 2020. The guidance continues to mandate face masks in indoor settings, with few exceptions.
The state warns, “The risk for COVID-19 exposure and infection will continue to remain until we reach community immunity from vaccinations.” Indeed, experts on Monday warned that so-called “herd immunity” is unlikely in the US.
“Widely circulating coronavirus variants and persistent hesitancy about vaccines will keep the goal out of reach. The virus is here to stay, but vaccinating the most vulnerable may be enough to restore normalcy,” the NY Times reported.
“The virus is unlikely to go away,” said Rustom Antia, an evolutionary biologist at Emory University in Atlanta. “But we want to do all we can to check that it’s likely to become a mild infection.”
Vaccinations remain the key to “transforming the virus into a controllable threat,” but at the same time, reluctance from broad sectors to vaccinate will make it far more difficult to return to normal.
Dr. Fauci explained, “People were getting confused and thinking you’re never going to get the infections down until you reach this mystical level of herd immunity, whatever that number is.
“That’s why we stopped using herd immunity in the classic sense,” he added. “I’m saying: Forget that for a second. You vaccinate enough people, the infections are going to go down.”
Nate Silver, however, pointed out, “One thing I find a bit weird is that discussion of how the herd immunity math might play out in the US often brushes past the role that natural immunity (from having had COVID) plays.”
He notes as many as one-third of the US population may have had COVID at some point.
He wrote, “You can’t just add up the ~33% who had COVID and the ~45% who’ve been vaccinated because there is some overlap between those groups. But survey data etc. suggests less overlap than you’d think since unvaccinated people tend to have been taking fewer precautions against COVID.”
He added that “there will be less and less overlap over time, since unvaccinated people are disproportionately more likely to get COVID going forward.”
In the meantime, California put out new guidance.
For fully vaccinated persons, “face coverings are not required outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.”
For those unvaccinated, “face coverings are required outdoors any time physical distancing cannot be maintained, including when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.”
In indoor settings outside of one’s home, including public transportation, “face coverings continue to be required regardless of vaccination status.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting
Support our work – to become a sustaining at $5 – $10- $25 per month hit the link: