Thoughts On the Imminent Unmasking

As many of you know, the CDC recently changed masking guidelines for vaccinated folks, and in Ohio, at least, guidelines are also changing — both immediately for vaccinated people and then for everyone in a couple of weeks. I’ve had some people ask me what I think about it and what I plan to do with regards to my personal masking habits, inasmuch as I and everyone else in my immediate family (including my mother-in-law) are fully vaccinated now. Well, here’s my plan:

Outdoors, I’m not going to wear a mask, unless I’m specifically asked to by the event/people I’m at/with. In which case I’ll wear a mask.

Indoors, I’m going to do what people/businesses ask me to do. If I go to a business and a sign on the door says “masks required/requested,” I’ll put on a mask. If I visit a friend and they prefer I wear a mask, then I’ll wear a mask — and I’ll make an effort to ask which they prefer ahead of time. I keep a mask in my car at all times anyway, so it’s not going to be onerous for me to honor those requests, and even if it were, I would still honor them.

I do understand that people have concerns that the unvaccinated will be wandering around without masks and now we won’t be able to spot them. My thinking here is that where I live the unvaccinated were wandering around without masks anyway, so this won’t be anything new. At this point, the people who are unvaccinated and have been wandering about maskless do what they do as a political position, and in doing so have willfully endangered the lives of others who can’t get the vaccine for genuine medical reasons. That’s not going to change, whether I wear a mask or not. I can’t do anything about them being genuinely shitty people on this matter. My wearing a mask or not won’t change their genuinely shitty behavior.

(Also, at this point if you are choosing to be unvaccinated because of a political position or because “you don’t trust the science” or whatever dimwit rationale you have, you’re being an asshole, and if you get sick, I’m not going to waste any sympathy on you. My sympathy at this point is for the people the willfully unvaccinated are going out of their way to endanger, namely, the people who genuinely can’t get the vaccine for medical reasons, whose lives will still be curtailed because some of us have decided being a shitty person about COVID is a legitimate social and political stance. Hey! Stop being an asshole about this. Get vaccinated.)

If you are vaccinated but still not comfortable being in public without a mask: You do you! I don’t see any problem with that, and certainly wearing a mask does no harm to anyone else, and may do some good. I support your decision. Also, moving forward, as a general rule, I think it would be useful and wise for people to wear masks when they are ill yet need to be in public. It would be lovely for people not to knowingly breathe viruses on other people! So, yes, I’ll be keeping my masks going forward and adding them to my clothing repertoire.

(Oh, and you know when else they’re useful? When it’s cold as hell outside. My face didn’t freeze nearly as much this last winter as it usually does. I’ll keep masks around for that, too.)

I’m happy the mask mandates are ending; I wish they were ending because we all had gotten vaccines instead of the bare minimum of people to allow us to say, “eh, close enough.” But here we are. And I, at least, am fully vaccinated, as is my whole family.

— JS

60 Comments on “Thoughts On the Imminent Unmasking”

  1. Also, with regard to people visiting the house, my rule on masks will be: we’re not going to require them but if the people who are coming to visit prefer them to be worn, I have no problem accommodating that, or to wear one at their request. Why? Because it’s not a big fuckin’ deal to wear a mask! Especially if it makes people comfortable.

  2. I’m right with you except I’ll start with the new CDC guidelines in a month when my 19 yr old will be 2+14. No one wants to celebrate the end of freshman year by having their mom bring covid home before they’re fully vaccinated.

  3. Paul Garbett – Retired from a career (series of jobs) in IT latterly specialising in Software Testing. Almost archetypal Grumpy Old Man with the potential to be irritated by just about anything
    Paul Garbett

    A responsible view as I would have expected but I am puzzled why everybody thinks the vaccination is a complete cure/protection. You can still contract Covid, you can still pass it on – sure the likelihood is reduced as is the impact. In my, admittedly non-expert, view I think wearing masks is going to be around for some while yet.

  4. Very well put. I, too, will wear a mask whenever it makes someone more comfortable. It is such a very small thing to do for others.

  5. Paul Garbett:

    I don’t personally equate vaccination with complete protection; on the other hand I’ve also been following the studies on the efficacy of the vaccines in terms of infection/severity of infection/likelihood of the vaccinated passing it on, all of which (to date) seem pretty positive. If the data change, my behavior will change, for sure.

    Josh Jasper:

    Entirely possible.

  6. We’re still in pollen season right now so I’m in no hurry to ditch them.

    I’ve been quite happy hiding behind a mask and keeping away from everyone.

  7. I think I’ll switch from the bank robber mask that covers nose and mouth to the Lone Ranger style.

  8. Recently, my school district’s superintendent sent out an email stating that we may be able to not wear masks in the near future. I told her I thought we should, as adults in a school. We want our 5 – 11-year-olds to keep wearing their masks and if we wear ours, that helps ensure that they will wear theirs. I would really like to see the 5 – 11 age group get approval for the vaccine so that elementary schools having higher numbers of vaccinated people, but that is still many months away and probably won’t happen before next fall.

    I hate wearing a damned mask and would love to stop wearing one, but as an example to my students, I’ll probably continue until they can be vaccinated and have had time to do so.

    Out in public, I’ll follow the same rules you outlined.

  9. I’m old and recovering from a stroke. Wearing a mask gives me that much more reassurance so I don’t expect to stop wearing one any time soon.

    Living in coastal northern California, there’s not a whole lot of mask resistance (which is really nice) but drive a few miles east into the Central Valley and it’s big time mask resistance.

    And it’s been a cold-free year! plus less of the allergies.

  10. I’m not planning on taking any chances just yet either.

    As for the winter face-protection angle, also: Hell YES. Easier than a scarf most days!

  11. Fully vaccinated, over 70, maintaining prior mask policy with some specific exceptions case-by-case, notably for a long-delayed family visit in one month. Stayed housebound for a year. Now doing some shopping, masked, and even dining out (once – Mother’s Day). Also relevant, I suppose: my yard is smaller than John’s, by some orders of magnitude, but I do have one.

    CDC basically returned policy to the local level. In a rational world that would make sense. The local policy should depend both on vaccination rates and community prevalence of infection. Both appear to be making progress, generally. Unfortunately this is an area where signs that a policy is effective tend to produce the opposite policy. An interesting phenomenon.

    I noticed Ohio’s vaccination lottery made it to the BBC.

  12. I’m fully vaccinated and so are all of my nearest and dearest. I expect to wear masks on public transit when I go back to using it to get to work and in concert halls.. I had my first cold-free year ever, mostly because of the social isolation, but if wearing masks in public limits catching colds…. I am all for it.

  13. A wise approach and one our governor takes here. Best to keep that mask ready in any case and hopefully this was the final wave. And if flu season gets worse we now have some protocols for folks to follow to lessen it. We all learned a lot for the better.

  14. I intend to wear a mask at least through the end of the year, even though it does get annoying sometimes. Also, flu season, man.

  15. As long as there’s pollen out there, I’ll be masked outside! I also plan to where a mask if I go to a store or anyplace else there are lots of people, since I’m vaccinated but have concerns I’m one of those people the vaccine may have been less effective for. However, it was a joy to have someone here yesterday who was also vaccinated so we were both unmasked.

  16. Still waiting for Positive cases and deaths to go down before I feel safer going to a restaurant or bar where i need to take off a mask

  17. So, you’re saying our problem now isn’t the prevalence of SARS-COV-2 virus particles, but the prevalence of dimwitted a$$holes?
    Huh.
    Who could have foreseen that?

    Note that the Internet still doesn’t have a functioning sarcasm font.

  18. 90% of epidemiologists recently surveyed by the NY Times disagree with the CDC. There is no vaccine for children under 12 and no children 12-15 are even close to being fully vaccinated. (I have a 3 year old granddaughter who was very premature so that is much on my mind.) Less than a third of the Texas population, for example, has been fully vaccinated. White House officials have admitted to reporters this is a politically based decision. And Dr. Fauci is appearing repeatedly on TV saying businesses will simply have to depend on the “honor system” from a population that has demonstrated it has none as he contradicts his own statements on restrictions from just weeks earlier.

    Yeah, the CDC is not doing a good job rebuilding its lost credibility.

  19. I will be wearing a mask for the duration and, whenever possible, keeping well clear of anyone who doesn’t.

    I get my jabs at the end of this month and still plan on wearing a mask because, pandemic.

    If what’s happening around the world is any indication, we’re not out of the woods yet, even if we can see the light through the trees.

    I’ll probably have people to the house and brave a dinner out, but I’m not really keen on going back to 2019 era behavior yet.

  20. “I do understand that people have concerns that the unvaccinated will be wandering around without masks and now we won’t be able to spot them. My thinking here is that where I live the unvaccinated were wandering around without masks anyway, so this won’t be anything new.”

    While this is true, there’s no way to tell by looking at someone whether they’re vaccinated or not. I’m vaccinated now so I really don’t care if others I encounter are vaccinated or not when I’m out by myself. But when I’m out with my below-vaccine-eligible-age kids it’s a completely different story. I have to assume every stranger I encounter is unvaccinated, and if all those strangers are unmasked it’s much harder to exist in public with unvaccinated kids than if most of them were masked.

  21. I will continue to wear masks in public indoor spaces. Although I probably won’t go to many public indoor spaces.
    I will also continue to mask at work. Because my employer is a dick who forced everyone back to the office. And because I have a few QAnon co-workers who refuse to get a vaccine.

  22. Well put, and I agree for the most part. Yes, you can still get infected – how else explain the 8 members of the NY Yankees staff (and one player) testing positive after being fully vaccinated? But on the other hand, only ONE of them had ANY symptoms and they were mild.

    We have started going unmasked outdoors but still wear it indoors, in stores, etc. We’ve been eating outdoors in restaurants and ate indoors for the first time last week (in a nearly empty restaurant). I have had one person in my building tell me to take the mask off in the elevator, but I ignored him. There are a few douche bags around, like the woman who said the ONLY way I could get infected was from the mask, but then, she’s a moron.

    And yes, I said the same to my wife about the mask keeping my face cosy this winter.

    But given the percentage of unvaccinated, plus the lack of proof or enforcement, I do NOT feel comfortable going to a Broadway (or off-Broadway) show when they reopen in September. Ditto for indoor concerts or movies. We’ll see how the vaccinations and the infection rates go as time goes on.

  23. 90% of epidemiologists recently surveyed by the NY Times disagree with the CDC.

    50% of those epidemiologists in the survey thought that we would have to continue to wear masks either for a year from now or forever, so I’m getting a sense they went too far in the opposite direction.

    We’re unmasking pretty quickly here — the science is pretty strong that vaccinated folks rarely get sick, don’t get very sick, and don’t serve as carriers. There are lots of other risks at a similar level that I take daily without blinking (driving my car, eg).*

    I carry a mask with me outside, but don’t use it except in rare circumstances. Going inside for shopping or the like, I put it on. We’ve already had several indoor dinners unmasked with vaccinated friends and family, and will continue to do so. I’m hoping to get to a baseball game this summer, and my birthday will be indoors at a restaurant.

    I’ve been teaching in person since last August, and it’ll be nice to have my full classes back and be unmasked (my university is mandating vaccines for everyone for the fall).

    *Obviously, people have different levels of risk.

  24. What really boggles my mind is just how het up people get about wearing the stupid things. It’s a little piece of cloth. I don’t much LIKE it (thought I agree with John about finding some value when it’s cold) but I find it less unpleasant than, say, wearing a tie. I spent five years wearing a tie and dress shoes for a damned retail job where I had to be on my feet all day. Here in the DC area a lot of folks have to wear a suit and tie through the muggy summer. THIS is what folks get so cranked up about? Where’s this level of passion for making pantyhose optional?

  25. I’m one of those people who don’t respond well to vaccines. I had a transplant in 2014. I will take immune suppression drugs for the rest of my life. I’ve had my 2 Moderna shots. A recent small-scale study of transplant patients found that >70% failed to produce antibodies after vaccination. In my case the vaccine worked, but just barely. A normal response after the shots is 150+, negative is <1. Mine was 4.2.

    All indications are that COVID runs through transplant patients like a california forest fire. Until a greater portion of the population gets a vaccine I’m still going to avoid crowds & strangers.

    I’m hopeful my situation will improve when booster shots become available this fall. My doctor has told me I’ll probably need a booster shot every year as well.

  26. To me there’s some irony that during the height of the pandemic the people going maskless were mostly endangering others, and now those same people are mostly (yes, I realize there are people who can’t get vaccinated) endangering themselves.

  27. What I find is the proliferation of articles that proclaim that the new standards “confuse people”
    Really?
    Out here in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle and points north, I’ve been to a dozen places of business in the last few days, Groceries, big box, etc. that seem not be confused at all.
    Where it says, wear a mask, everyone and I mean everyone, is wearing a mask. Once we all get outside and start spreading out in the parking lot, every one is taking them off.

    I know my sample is locality specific but then our Governor made it clear that businesses could enforce masking rules if they choose.

    YMMV, but it seems it’s hard to justify the claim around here…

  28. I’m already thinking ahead to the next pandemic, or summer surge, that could happen within this decade.

    I’m thinking about whether society could make a dent in well meaning people believing stuff that is forwarded on social media.

    A friend and I agreed that it is very hard to correct people who believe in social media without sounding judgemental. Perhaps, as a compromise, a “better than silence” response would be to say, “I am going to wait a day for traditional media to verify that.”

  29. I am fully vaccinated, 28 days past my second shot. I ate inside a restaurant today for the first time since the pandemic started. I am now a quivering mass of nerves and thinking perhaps I will isolate for two weeks out of sheer stress and habit.

    I still see lots of folks here masked while just walking around outside.

  30. My attitude is the folks who can’t get the vaccine for whatever reason are avoiding normal folks like you and I, cuz they know 1/3 of us are deliberately (through ignorance or stupidity) trying to infuct them..

    Folks who think like me, and am 100% vaccinated, are “Whoo Hoo, back to normal”

    Folks who support Trump, refuse to wear masks, and won’t get the vaccine, are “Whoo Hoo, back to normal, told ya so”. What gives me joy is I can breath my hopefully unmasked transmittable breath into their Trump supporting airway inputs that makes them sick.

    To me, it’s like the WW1 airplane pilots that got kills for planes shot down. The more Trumpers I an make sick at this point the more points I should get.

    We should all be like WW1 pilots and infuct every non-immunized people we can.

  31. Dear folks,

    First, hi-level meta: the job of your local health officials (and the CDC, etc.) is not to keep you, individually, safe. It is to suppress transmission enough (Rt<1)that the disease either dies out (unlikely) or is suppressed so much that the incidence rate makes it just another one of the risk factors we live with every day.

    They have to deal with the collective behaviors of people. Not how you or I would like them to behave, but how they really behave. They have to come up with policies that are most likely to reduce the incidence of disease, whether or not those are the most desirable ones from a purely medical point of view. Because if one proposes a protocol that people, collectively, are not likely to follow, that's useless even if it's more medically correct!

    Their job is not just medical, it is social engineering. And yes, that is politics. Wishing (or, worse, demanding) that it were otherwise is living in a fantasy world, and the virus no more cares about your particular fantasy world than it does those of the anti-vaxxers or the QAnoners.

    This means that you as an individual are likely to have to run a considerably higher (or lower) level of risk, to match your own comfort levels and the medical needs of you and your loved ones.

    Personally, since I've been visiting with one sweetie for the past fourteen months who would almost certainly die if she got COVID, I've been running protocols that got me to at least three nines safety level (that is, a less than 0.1% chance of acquiring and passing on an infection). That's way higher than any public health official would recommend, and it was certainly not convenient. I wouldn't reasonably demand other people follow my protocol… (although it would be great if they did).

    I'm getting on a plane tomorrow to see a sweetie I haven't seen in eight months. When I made the plane reservations, I scheduled only a 48-hour visit because at that point they hadn't been vaccinated (too young). That let me keep the safety level at three nines, whereas a 72-hour visit wouldn't have.

    Conversely, I've got two sweeties who, because of their circumstances, we were able to operate at a four to five nine's safety level! Their households could just pull up the drawbridge, fill the moat with crocodiles, and have close to zero contact with the outside world for a year. By their standards, my behavior has been risky!

    Everyone's mileage differs. The societal goal is to get the average mileage high enough.

    pax / Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]

  32. The issue is for those who cannot be vaccinated, mostly children. Masks mostly protect others, not the wearer, and now all those antivaxxers are going to be going around pretending they are vaccinated so they don’t have to wear a mask.
    The children will still be masked, but cases in children are going to surge. Maybe the CDC should have mandated masking around any children.

    The initial CDC statement needed to be better worded. The implication was that the removal of restrictions was going to be nationwide, but control is still in the hands of the states, counties, cities, and even stores. Any one of those levels wants masks, all below have to have masks. Walmart and others announced they were relaxing mask rules, but in states where the state isn’t, customers are going to be loudly refusing.

  33. See, I figure that we had a horrible risk in-person before, and now that more people are vaccinated, we’re down to a much lower risk level, but… lower isn’t not-risky. It’s just less risky. (see also: MLB cases – and those players don’t have health issues that would compromise their immune function)

    And there has been some successful “peer pressure” in many areas such that if enough people are wearing masks, people feel like it’s not a ridiculous thing to do and you get pretty high compliance (even if some noses are out, sigh), which reduces risk for everyone (especially if the anti-vaxxers are successfully required to wear masks).

    So I’d rather All The People keep their masks on indoors (except when all the people in the space are immunized and none are high-risk), so that public spaces can be at least more safe for people who are not able to be vaccinated or who are on immunosuppressants and will have reduced vaccine response.

    Yep, it is vastly more safe now to not wear a mask in public. And if you’re immunized, you’re a low risk to others. But still, I’d rather knock that risk down another few notches rather than prematurely go back to “normal” and kill another ten thousand+ people who didn’t have to die.

    But I’m fairly risk-averse; I get that other people have different preferred balances and different methods of assessing risk. I just think it’s an unnecessary and probably not-minor risk to completely drop public indoor masking while we haven’t reached herd immunity and while we don’t know what’s going to happen exactly in terms of variants.

  34. For now, my wife and I go unmasked among people whom we know to be fully vaccinated. We did that for the first time yesterday and it was great to see their faces. But for a while longer I’ll continue wearing a cloth mask at places like the grocery store, mostly to encourage the not-yet-vaccinated to keep doing so.

    For my daily outdoor walks, I’ve not bothered with a mask throughout this pandemic except when it was really cold outside! A KF94 mask under a cloth mask was MUCH more effective at warming and hydrating the air than a the woolen ski mask I used to wear for that purpose. Even at below zero F, outdoor walks were surprisingly comfortable with my COVID-type masks on.

  35. Might not matter as much somewhere with a lot of antimaskers (where I live compliance is pretty good), but I kind of hate this CDC guidance.

    Before, if you saw people without a mask, you knew they were anti-maskers and to stay the fuck away from them. Now you have no idea who is who in the crowd.

    And while I’m fully vaxxed my kid isn’t, and won’t be till fall at the earliest. I’m going to have to be more cautious with where I take him than before directly because of this stupid CDC announcement.

    It’s too early. The vaccination %s aren’t up to it in most parts of the country. Anyone with kids is more limited in where they can go safely than before. Pfizer and Moderna mostly stop transmission but notably J&J doesn’t. Uggggghhh.

  36. My thinking here is that where I live the unvaccinated were wandering around without masks anyway

    That’s not the case here on saner shores: I haven’t seen a single unmasked person in shops, etc. for over a year. Unfortunately, the relatively rare yahoos hereabouts will now feel free to spread viral havoc, with a probable resurgence.

  37. I can understand the trepidation that some with medical conditions can make vaccines risky face. To a certain extent, I know that fear of needles is an issue–maybe medical counseling is called for?

    But to everyone else, just get your damn vaccine.

  38. All the points about tolerance for covidiotic behavior are well taken, but for me, infecting people with a possibly debilitating and deadly virus puts you firmly in the garbage juice category, no matter what individual decisions others make.

    Wanna go-a-gamblin with covid? Do ya thang, but don’t be shocked when you get exposed and dragged for playing the slots with others’ lives by “protesting tyranny” and owning the libs.

    Oh, and this gave me a much needed laugh.

  39. I intersect with man y of them on other forums, and this is the impression I get lately. The state of the Peckerwood-Correct virtue signalling now seems to be, “Well, I never wore a mask, ‘cause I ain’t no liberal sissy pinko woke sheeple, and I ain’t getting vaccinated ‘cause I’m tough and independent and a true patriot, BUT all you socialist msm-listening Dimmycrats had better thank Donald (blessed be his name!) Trump for Operation Warp Speed getting those vaccines out. (But I still ain’t getting vaccinated ‘cause I’m too smart for that!)”

  40. At work we have the option of masking. I do not wear a mask in my office but do when going to the restroom, getting coffee, etc. I also live in an area where many have NEVER worn a mask and businesses seem hesitant to enforce the rules they post on their doors.

  41. I think one of the issues is going to be that mask-wearing became a clear political and public statement during the pandemic. Wearing a mask? You’re someone who’s listening to the science and not the crazy person in the White House. Not wearing a mask? You stand for freedom and !America!

    Now that linkage is broken and it becomes harder to make that statement so publicly. Vaccination status isn’t comparable (joke on twitter: “How do you tell if someone without a mask is vaccinated or not? Ask them who won the election.”)

  42. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that only a few anti-maskers have (so far) violently tried to forcibly unmask others. Given the number of guns in this country, and how easy it is in many places to get a concealed carry permit, that could end really badly.

    Sadly, a (thankfully small so far) number of anti-vaxxers (and anti-vax is both hard left and hard right) are violently interfering with vaccinations. Again, this could end badly for them.

  43. Wish they’d waited until 12-15 year olds could be fully vaccinated, or tied it to some kind of % infected number by county. I’m not as worried about my 8 year old, but the 14 year old tends to get very sick when he gets sick at all.

  44. My “guy,” who does odd jobs for me and mows the lawn of my rental property across the street missed a week and a half, so the lawn was getting shaggy and I texted him to see if he was okay (he’s older than me and I’m 65). He finally texted me back that he has had COVID and pneumonia for the past three weeks and was too sick to let me know.

    The last time he mowed I spoke with him – It was the day I became officially vaccinated (2nd Pfizer shot plus two weeks) – I asked him if he’d been vaccinated, to which he just shrugged and mumbled a “not yet” or something. I strongly urged him at that time to get vaccinated. I told him it’s free and it might save his life, and it might save the lives of people to which he comes into contact. “Mumble mumble.”

    So when he tells me he has COVID and has it BAD, I have no sympathy. My initial comment to him was, “I urged you to get the vaccination, silly!” (Trying to be nice.) But in our next exchange that same day while trying to make alternate plans for mowing the lawn, I went in a little deeper, telling him, “In my experience people who refuse to get vaccinated do so either because of some warped political ideology or because they’re stupid, and honestly dude, you never struck me as the political type.” (Easy way to call someone stupid to their face without actually calling them stupid.)

    He had another guy rush out and mow the lawn that first day he finally got back to me before I took matters into my own hands so that takes care of that for a week or two, but I’m debating whether I want to let him go and hire someone who is a more responsible adult. Not only do I have no sympathy for someone like this, I feel a great deal of disdain for them for their selfishness.

  45. Seeing the other poster from Seattle’s reflections, as well as those who are not living in our corner of the United States, I am glad that so many of us have been wearing masks consistently throughout the pandemic and that so many businesses required masks for entry. Although I’m fully vaccinated, my kids are not. Therefore, I’m still masking up when at the grocery store or other public places. I’m thinking I’ll continue this even once my kids are fully vaccinated because going for a year without having a cold has been great! Never got cold enough here for the insulating effects to be useful, but good to know!

  46. “The state of the Peckerwood-Correct virtue signalling now seems to be, “Well, I never wore a mask, ‘cause I ain’t no liberal sissy pinko woke sheeple, and I ain’t getting vaccinated ‘cause I’m tough and independent and a true patriot, BUT all you socialist msm-listening Dimmycrats had better thank Donald (blessed be his name!) Trump for Operation Warp Speed getting those vaccines out.”

    I shouldn’t be surprised that the “murican,”chest-thumping wing is projectile vomiting that “logic” all over empathetic, critically thinking people with self-preservation skills.

    I’d have loved to have seen these orcs navigate WW II era sacrifices, but I digress.

    These “independent,” “free thinking” “patriots” love to hit smart people with the sheeple label when nearly all of their covid-related decisions have been choreographed by a pastel tinged grifter and probable sociopath and his “free thinking” accomplices in congress and the media.

    I guess we have Cheeto Jesus to thank for there not being pandemic-movie-like chaos in the streets, because I’m willing to bet it all that had these people been told the truth from the beginning, there’d be hordes of armed Trumpists storming or guarding grocery stores to ensure than none but them and theirs had access to frozen burritos, pasta, toilet paper and disinfectant.

    And I’m all for making life inconvenient and even downright unpleasant for willfully ignorant chest-thumpers who want to sacrifice others’ lives in the name of their politics.

    Make the covid vaccine mandatory for everything critical they need to do, with exceptions for those with actual medical conditions that preclude them from it.

    Want to travel, work or attend school? Prove you’ve been vaccinated, just as you did for other vaccines.

    I had to get Hep vaccines in order to attend sleepaway camp; the same should apply to kids within the eligible age-range.

    And sure, they’d cry oppression and decry the loss of their “murican” freedom.

    Thing is, the anti-vaxxers will be as free as birds in terms of going places and doing things that don’t require they be vaccinated, just as the anti-maskers were free as birds to go places where masks weren’t required.

    They want to act like rebellious teens, they should be treated like it.

    They can make any choice they want, they’ll just have to live with the consequences of those choices.

  47. I’m in the SF Bay Area, and I get side-eye when I don’t wear a mask outside. My rule is, outside if I’m not around people I don’t wear it. If I am near people, I wear it. If I go inside, I wear it (because all stores require it as of now). I am still not comfortable eating indoors, although I will hang with my vaccinated family and friends inside. My kid is not vaccinated, will not be vaccinated for some time, so I’m being a little cautious to protect/in solidarity with her. I think mask wearing isn’t a big deal, we probably shouldn’t be spewing germs on each other until this is well and truly over, and I may wear my mask on public transportation for the rest of my life. Or until I am made to feel like a big dork for doing so.

  48. Immune compromised here because of medications for my organ transplant. Others with auto-immune disorders are similarly compromised, as are some people with immune deficiency disorders (including the 10 yo son of my godsister).

    We get vaccinated and are not generating many antibodies, even after the second. The elderly have undetectable antibodies, and the middle aged like me are doing a poor job of it; mine were called “detectable but very low. Fingers crossed the vaccination keeps us out of the hospital and complication-free should we get COVID. Nobody knows yet. The professionals are recommending a third booster, when we know whether that is safe.

    So I appreciate the sensitivity to that issue, Scalzi. Those of us who know the score (I am a scientist) are staying holed up. I am concerned for those who do not realize that they do not mount a very good response to the vaccine. As noted, better than nothing. But for us we are not out of the woods yet.

  49. I went to a social event over the weekend at someone’s house, where everyone was there by invitation and known to at least the people who invited them. Nobody wore masks – but we were all, SFAIK, fully vaccinated (except for a few kids too young yet).

    Since at this point, if I wear a mask, it’s to protect the unvaccinated, and since at this point the unvaccinated are 90% Trumpers, I have no qualms at all about going unmasked. (The 10% who are children or immunocompromised are another issue: all I can say is, I rarely if ever come into contact with either group.)

    I will continue to wear a mask if asked, if in a retail space that asks me to mask, and so on.

  50. I had the flu or a cold 5 times in the fall and winter leading up to the onset of COVID just over a year ago. I havn’t had either since. Oh yeah, I’ll continue to wear the mask indoors.

  51. I’d have liked a slightly more nuanced take – outdoors let’s ditch those masks, schools/workplaces where we encounter the same people over and over and can verify status fine, but public settings like grocery stores I would really appreciate keeping the masks awhile longer so I could safely move about with my toddler who won’t get vaxxed until December. The unvaxxed anti-maskers are going to be camouflaged by vaxxed following CDC guidance and that’s going to make accomplishing everyday tasks that much more difficult.

  52. “…I’m debating whether I want to let him go and hire someone who is a more responsible adult. Not only do I have no sympathy for someone like this, I feel a great deal of disdain for them for their selfishness.”

    I say drop him and hire someone who doesn’t think and behave like he or she has to be in the house before the street lights come on.

    What happened could have been prevented had he made the grown-up decision and gotten his jab.

    He made his problem your problem, and that’s unacceptable.

    The overlap between political anti-vaxxers and those screaming about the negative impact of covid restrictions’ on the economy needs to be examined and called out because of situations just like this.

    What part of “knocking out the workforce via covid does fuck all for the economy” don’t these brain trusts not grasp?

  53. I’m fully vaxxed, but I’m still immunocompromised. The only people allowed in my house are fully vaxxed friends, my cleaning people (at least one of whom is definitely vaxxed), and I guess on Friday I’m letting the HVAC guy in and not asking a lot of questions.

    The cleaners and the HVAC guy wear masks, and are here only for a limited time.

    I still won’t set foot in a restaurant or a movie theater. I don’t mask up when in my own backyard, and my neighbor and I are slowly readjusting to not needing distance between us when we talk in the shared driveway. (We’re both vaxxed, as are all her kids.)

    I want to see what the combination of anti-masking/anti-vaxxing dickheads + everything reopening + covid variants does to the case rate before I get anywhere near random strangers indoors.

    Summer outdoor activities may mask (heh) a surge. The real question will be October numbers, when unvaccinated children will be back in school, and the above equation may play out differently.

  54. Since I’m still healing from a fractured knee, the vaccine will be coming to me. Dad & hubby had both Pfizer doses. I’m looking forward to my home visit. After I’m fully vaccinated, I’ll still keep my cloth masks. Quite aside from them being decorated with crystals, the flu is at its lowest point in over a decade, maybe two. If I wear masks at cons, I will likely avoid the “con crud”, so I will be masking in a number of situations for the rest of my life. I look forward to BayCon next year.

    Note to self: after some time has elapsed after my final COVID-19 vaccine, it will be time to get the shingles vaccine. Vaccines are wonderful.

  55. Summer outdoor activities may mask (heh) a surge. The real question will be October numbers, when unvaccinated children will be back in school, and the above equation may play out differently.

    I would lay odds that 2-11 year olds are eligible for the vaccine before school starts in the fall. The political pressure is immense from all the desperate parents. As soon as any reasonable data comes out, they’ll approve the vaccine for use (as they did with the 12-15 year olds).

    I’m more optimistic about a summer surge. Yes, the morons will be the morons, but I think we’re a lot closer to herd immunity than we think. About 132 million Americans are fully vaccinated (more if you count those with first doses, which provides a substantial amount of resistance by itself), and if you add in the people who have had COVID (officially 33 m, but the undercount estimates range from 3-1 to 10-1(!)) which (using the lowest estimate of 3-1) gets another 130ish million Americans with some level of immunity.

    Assuming no overlap, that’s about 80% of Americans with resistance to the coronavirus, which is well into the herd immunity level. Obviously, there’s going to be a lot of overlap, with people who had covid also getting the vaccine, but even if 50% of those who got sick also got the vaccine, you’re still looking at about 60% of Americans with some level of immunity, which is close to herd status as well. I think that’s going to suppress things quite substantially going forward.

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