New Rules About Vaccinations, Masks, & Getting Back to Normal

The CDC has issued new rules (again) about what is OK and not OK to do in terms of safely reentering the world. These rules, as usual, are ambiguous and likely to change tomorrow. But, as of today, they are as follows:

Fully vaccinated people:

  • are at minimal risk during indoor and outdoor activities
  • have a reduced risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to unvaccinated people.
  • should not visit private or public settings if they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior 10 days or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • should continue to follow any applicable federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations

Translation: It’s OK for fully vaccinated people to go wherever they like—inside or outside—without a mask. They will not become infected or infect others who have been vaccinated. They might, however, be a carrier and infect others who have not been vaccinated. (Confusing? Yes.) At least, that is what the cable newscasters are reporting at the moment. How does that explain all the New York Yankee baseball players who were vaccinated and came down with COVID?

There are other questions as well. Just because the CDC says we can resume our lives, am I ready to do that? After being home for more than a year and venturing out oh so cautiously, always wearing a mask, do I want to throw caution to the winds (that’s what it feels like, anyway) and act as if everything is fine?

If I’m fully vaccinated and I’m with someone else who is also fully vaccinated, I would feel comfortable going unmasked (is that really a word?). But what do I do if I don’t know the other person’s vaccination status? Is it polite to ask someone who isn’t wearing a mask, oh, BTW, are you vaccinated? And if they say no, what then? I can’t see myself saying, well, then, you really should be wearing a mask.

I feel like any sort of meaningful guidance is gone, and we are on our own in terms of deciding how much being out and about is enough or too much or uncomfortable or risky or fine. I am not qualified to make those decisions on any basis but my own instincts. If an opportunity presents itself, I will have to depend on them. Believe it or not, they are usually correct.