Obviously there's a lot to like in today's CDC guidance that fully vaccinated people don't have to wear a mask or socially distance both indoors and outdoors, with some exceptions.
We're tired of Covid restrictions. We want life to get back to normal. We're weary of being afraid of coming down with COVID-19 just because of breathing some infected air.
Governor Kate Brown wasted no time in saying that Oregon will follow the CDC recommendations.
Today the CDC issued new guidance for lifting mask and social distancing requirements for fully-vaccinated individuals. It is yet another sign that, if we all continue to do our part, the pandemic is coming closer to an end.
Starting today, Oregon will be following this guidance, which only applies to fully-vaccinated individuals. That means Oregonians who are fully-vaccinated no longer need to wear masks or social distance in most public spaces.
Sounds good. But a Willamette Week tweet contains a caveat.
Well, to adapt the (somewhat erroneous) "Houston, we have a problem," Salem, we're going to have a problem.
Lots of people here don't want to be vaccinated, resist wearing a mask in indoor public places, and bristle at being told what to do Covid-wise.
So I sympathize with stores, restaurants, and other businesses who try to make sure that everyone who enters their establishment without a mask has been vaccinated.
If they simply ask people at the door, "Are you fully vaccinated, with two weeks having passed since your last shot?," there's no way to tell whether someone is being truthful.
If they ask for a completed vaccination card, many people won't have it with them. Or they could brandish one of the fake cards that are available online.
If they decide it's too much trouble to check their patrons' vaccination status, this undermines the ability of fully vaccinated people to not wear a mask.
Why? Because no vaccine is 100% effective at stopping a Covid infection.
When vaccinated people are together, the risk of coming down with COVID-19 is minimal. But throw in a bunch of unvaccinated people, and the risk rises. (Though perhaps to less than 1%.)
Right now I'm going to be reluctant to go maskless in a store.
I'd rather go through the small discomfort of wearing a mask than increase my chance of getting sick. When most people in the Salem area are fully vaccinated, upwards of 70% ideally, I might change my mind.
I'd feel fine going maskless in a store if I could be sure that all the other customers also were vaccinated.
But unless Oregon mandates some sort of foolproof vaccination passport, a low probability, I'd rather wear a mask and be safe, than not wear one and be (hugely) sorry I got COVID-19.
The frustrating thing is how much easier it would be if everyone would just get a damn Covid shot. They're safe, effective, and widely available now. No waiting. No cost.
Yet here in Salem we've got a thriving community of irresponsible people who ignore Covid public health measures and wrongly feel that they have a right to put others at risk by not wearing a mask or socially distancing.
The Peoples Church has the dubious distinction of having the largest workplace outbreak in Oregon, 87 cases so far. Yet the pastor vows to keep on with packed, maskless, in-person services.
Yay, Salem! We're #1 in COVID-19 religious idiocy.