June 25, 2021 – When the CDC announced in May that fully vaccinated Americans could largely ditch their masks, many of us were anxious to shed those familiar pieces of tissue that we had worn for over a year.
And yet, it seems that some people are not ready to let go.
The CDC said in May that fully vaccinated people can resume their activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, with a few exceptions. The announcement prompted a change in attitude towards the masks, with many fearing they would be removed.
“To some extent it makes sense to have this fear and anxiety because that’s what we’ve been living with for the past year, ”said Felix Torres, MD, chief forensic pathologist at Texas Health and Human Services. “It’s deeply rooted in us to have these precautions in place. So, there are some people who will probably keep these precautions. “
While more than 150 million Americans are fully vaccinated, many still fear the unknown when it comes to COVID-19. More … than 4 out of 10 Americans (41%) say they are more anxious than last year. Young adults aged 18-29 (49%) and Hispanics / Latinos (50%) are also more likely to say they are more anxious now.
While masks turned out to be important at first, they weren’t always popular or recommended. Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association, says the politicization of masks, failed testing programs and lack of communication have led to an uncomfortable situation.
“A lot of people weren’t comfortable wearing masks,” says Benjamin. “We are not a culture of wearing masks. So it was both a behavior change and a cultural change for people. “
Another reason that fully vaccinated people always hold on to masks is that they still don’t feel safe. Collective immunity has been the country’s goal to dramatically improve the chances of coronavirus become a epidemic again. America is far from that number, however.
“If you’re in Vermont, 70% of people are vaccinated. So there is a 70% chance that you will come across someone who has been vaccinated, ”explains Benjamin. “Now we think that to achieve effective herd immunity, it is around 80%. So even there [Vermont], the probability of being exposed to someone is higher. So the answer is no, we are not dealing with anything close to collective immunity. “