Here in Bradford, the local IGA, the Dollar General and the Rich gas station have taken down their “mask required” signs, and the staff in each have likewise demasked. At the Dollar General, there is a new sign saying that vaccinated people could come in unmasked but than non-vaccinated people should still be masked up unless they had a medical reason to do otherwise. This is of course ironic, because Bradford is the sort of place where the vaccinated were the ones wearing the masks and the unvaccinated were the ones who were not. I don’t imagine the unvaccinated here will suddenly change their behavior in these latter days of the pandemic.
The dropping of these signs may or may not be precipitate — Ohio still has a general order for mask wearing for the unvaccinated through June 3rd — but it seems extremely unlikely that if it is, anyone will come to enforce it, or that anyone here much cares. In Darke County, where half of Bradford lay, the most recent number of daily infections was one; for Miami County, where the other half of the village is platted, it was three. Neither county has recorded a COVID-related death in at least three weeks. The pandemic is not completely over here — there are still people in the hospital recovering — but it has certainly wound down.
What we will see, I suppose, is whether the end of the masking creates a spike of cases, and what that “spike” will be — if it’s a couple more daily cases than otherwise, or something rather more substantial. Or if nothing happens! As of today, 26% of Darke County is fully vaccinated and another ten percent were infected, recovered and presumably now have antibodies; Miami County is slightly higher in vaccination percentages and about equal in recovered infected. These are not, shall we say, great percentages for vaccinations and antibodies. This is what you get for being in Trump country. I’d prefer if people here don’t get sick. But a pretty large percentage of people here who could get a shot, but haven’t, are making it easier for the virus to stick around.
What did I do when I went to, respectively, the IGA, the Dollar General and the gas station? In each case I had my mask with me when I got out of my car to go the the store, but inasmuch as I’m vaccinated and I’m neither legally required to wear the mask nor are the businesses asking me to, I entered these businesses without it on. This was in keeping with my previous position on the matter, and after about the first three seconds in each case, it was fine and I didn’t think about it much further while I was in the store.
I’ll still be keeping a mask in my car and will wear it when asked (as again previously mentioned). But here in town, the mask-wearing moment is definitively over. Let’s hope it lasts, both in town and elsewhere.