One of the worst decisions made during the pandemic, and after an initial good start it pains me to say it, was CDC Director Walensky’s decision to tell people if they were fully vaccinated, they no longer needed to wear a mask in public areas indoors. The notion this would give people an incentive to be vaccinated was, at best, marginal: poll after poll shows that people who are vaccine hesitant overwhelmingly cite concerns about the safety of the vaccine as the key factor in their hesitancy (yes, there are other issues cited such as access or missing work, but, far and away, safety concerns dominate). Likewise, people who were eager to be vaccinated didn’t get vaccinated so they wouldn’t have to wear masks anymore, though that’s a perfectly fine secondary benefit (if warranted by the epidemiology), they (we) did it so they would be safer.
Without any verification scheme, which is to say the honor system was used, it was obvious that people were lying about their status. Many weren’t, but enough were. And here we are.
I think it’s possible over the next few months, at least in states with a modicum of responsible governance, we’ll see a shift towards mandatory masking in public essential places (e.g., grocery stores) and a requirement to prove vaccination in non-essential places. Alternatively, these same places will mandate a whole lot of vaccination. But the current situation, while it won’t lead to a calamity like we had in January, isn’t sustainable. There will be enough American Carnage (to use a phrase) to force officials to take action. It also seems pretty clear that there is a vaccinated ‘silent majority’ that is really tired of people’s bullshit, and that it will only get larger and more vocal.
So my guess–and I could wind up being laughably wrong–is that we’re going to see, in some/many places, either a ‘mixed masking’ strategy or a whole bunch of vaccine mandates (especially once the FDA gets off its ass and formally approves the vaccines*).
*I get that the FDA doesn’t want to be hasty, but this is hardly a case where, after administering hundreds of millions of doses world-wide, one could possibly think there is either fraud occurring or a better therapy. Move faster FDA.
I think delta changes it also. Instead of masking turning 95% effectiveness into 97.5, it turns (guessing) 80% into 90%, and the improvement (from the worse position we find ourselves in from Delta) is likely similar for herd immunity.
It’s not a scientific survey, but it appears that mask-wearing competence increase when mask-wearing is optional.
Yeah, Delta changed a LOT, but then so did the fact that the vaccination rate flatlined. We’re at, what, 57%? the remaining 43 are (my guesses) split between 3% medically can’t do it (more claim that, but they’re lying), 10% still nervous about it for whatever reason (many in minority communities), and then 30% violently opposed. Just my guesses, but seems to reflect the comments in every single news article about vaccines and CDC policy as they’re posted by the networks on FB.
“I get that the FDA doesn’t want to be hasty, but this is hardly a case where, after administering hundreds of millions of doses world-wide, one could possibly think there is either fraud occurring or a better therapy. Move faster FDA.”
Here’s where there’s another factor at work: approving some but not others and then being blamed for the stock market knock-off effects. If they approve, say, Pfizer but not Moderna, or the two of them but not J&J – whatever decision they make, the stock market is going to harshly and negatively drop the value of the others, because that’s what they do. They know one corporation now has guaranteed revenue and the others don’t have that same guarantee, and judge the stocks accordingly. And the feedback loop from that WILL have some accusing the FDA of being political or biased, even though there’s no such thing. (from there, knock-off of knock-off will start seeing investigations and accusations of insider trading, etc…).
That said, the shit the FDA has already approved like Aduhelm (a $56k / year Alzheimers drug that totally failed *two* Phase III test studies and was voted against for approval overwhelmingly by the scientific advising committee) really puts these approval delays in a weird situation.