(This post written prior to President Biden addressing nation Thursday afternoon.)
Many people around the nation, including this home, have never stopped wearing masks when in stores or at places where large numbers of people gathered. Such as watching fireworks on July 4th.
I viewed the May announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that fully vaccinated people do not have to wear face coverings indoors to not be in line with common sense. The virus was still spreading, and masks have been proven to be most effective at stemming that spread. There was already evidence of breakthrough cases. We know that the collecting of data about breakthrough case has been poorly done.
It was noted at the time of the CDC announcement about masks that public health experts were somewhat aghast at the move, and for obvious reasons.
Taking issue with the CDC decision was easy. Unvaccinated people, who could have Covid-19 and not know it, would choose not to wear masks or face coverings when out in public. We just know that many of our fellow citizens abused the guidelines. It seems a terrible thing to say but we simply cannot blindly trust many of those we meet when out and about.
The data from states around the nation clearly demonstrate how not taking sane preventive measures, from receiving vaccines to wearing masks has a terrible price. When mandates are removed, and lax standards are accepted during a pandemic the outcome our health care system is stressed to the maximum.
Today Public Health Madison & Dane County announced the indoor mask mandate will continue through October 8th. Some are already kvetching about the move locally, but at the national level–as on National Public Radio this morning– it was noted with concern how the too-soon announcement that made it seem the pandemic was over was a seriously flawed one from the Biden White House.
I have held close to the views of epidemiologists since early in 2020. I noted at the time of the May mask relaxation announcement there was a stark contrast with a large majority of epidemiologists who were asked for their views.
In the informal survey at that time, 80 percent said they thought Americans would need to wear masks in public indoor places for at least another year. Just 5 percent said people would be able to stop wearing masks indoors by this summer.
In large crowds outdoors, like at a concert or protest, 88 percent of the epidemiologists said it was necessary even for fully vaccinated people to wear masks.
“Unless the vaccination rates increase to 80 or 90 percent over the next few months, we should wear masks in large public indoor settings,” said Vivian Towe, a program officer at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.
Based on such learned views from professionals James and I have followed the advice which many have ignored. Has it been fun?
No. But it is merely wearing a mask.
Does it make sound sense and align with the data to wear a mask?
Yes. The latest huge study from Stamford and Yale this month make the case, yet again, that mask wearing is a proven way to limit the spread of the virus.
I am most pleased that President Biden sits in the Oval Office. But I would not be candid with my readers if not taking issue with lapses in policy construction and logical steps to further safeguard the nation’s health during the pandemic.
Make no mistake, the bulk of the problem in the nation is with those who are unvaccinated and abused our trust and faith in them as they prance about, drink it up, fill stadiums as they shout spew. And fail to wear a mask. They are the weak links in our society.
But Biden and his team need to provide tougher leadership so to put forth consistent messaging and a better defined path forward as we battle this fourth wave of the pandemic.
And so it goes.