Keep your masks on, web-peeps!

Yesterday, I posted about the first real-world data we have on vaccines. It’s good news, y’all! What I didn’t expect were the slew of comments saying, “NOW I CAN TAKE MY MASK OFF!” In other words, “So you’re saying there’s a chance…”

❎ Uhm, slow your roll, friends. Nope, not what I said or what the data said.

⭐Keep the mask on! Why?

✅ PICTURE 1. Because we are nowhere near herd immunity. In the US as a whole, 29% are partially vaccinated and 16% are fully vaccinated. This also differs significantly by state!

✅ PICTURES 2 and 3. Vaccinations differ by state too. Texas, you are at 13%. That’s progress, but not take-off-your-mask progress yet. The state with the MOST is only at 23%.

✅ PICTURE 4. We can expect that at the current pace of 1.75 million vaccinations per day (the current 7-day average), we will finally reach 70% by June and 90% by July of partial vaccinations.

✅ PICTURES 5 AND 6. We are still in a race between vaccines and variants – and the US cases have increased by 19% over the past 14 days (Picture 5). 🙈🙈🙈 3 days ago – we were ONLY increasing BY 3% (Picture 6). Y’all, that’s a HUGE increase in the 24-day average. Deaths and hospitalizations are still decreasing, but not as drastically as they had been.

✅ PICTURES 7 AND 8. Let’s look at some of the reasons why the CDC Director yesterday went off script with an emotional plea to take the 4th surge seriously and continue wearing masks.

◾ Let’s look at Michigan. Michigan has an explosion of cases, with an over 100% increase in hospitalizations, and 17% of the population vaccinated.

◾ Let’s look at New Jersey. 20% increase in cases, 14% increase in hospitalizations, and only 18% vaccinated.

◾ There are 31 states with increasing cases. The “impending doom” is not sensationalized or fear-mongering. It’s a radar of an approaching storm of the 4th surge. We need to listen and take heed.

THE BIGGEST DEFENSE WE HAVE UNTIL WE HAVE HERD IMMUNITY THROUGH VACCINES ARE MASKS AND DISTANCING.

⭐⭐ KEY TAKE-AWAYS:

✅ 1. It was ONE STUDY cited yesterday. A good study. But, still only one of 4,000 people. It showed promising results, but should we make all conclusions from one study of 4,000 people? NOPE and NADA.

✅ 2. Do masks work? Yep. I’ll post all the data in the sources below. Mask mandates work too and should not have been or be lifted with the rise in cases. We can chew gum (keep businesses open) and walk (masks and distancing) at the same time. We can do hard things. The opening picture on this post shows that cases AND deaths slowed in counties that had mask mandates. Cases and deaths INCREASED in counties with reduced restrictions, like on-site restaurant dining.

⭐ ⭐ ✅ BOTTOM LINE: There was good news about the vaccines in the real-world data study. But it will take a while where that translates into taking off your masks in public gatherings. Don’t do it. Keep it on, especially with cases rising like they are. And, pull it over that nose. =)

-FNE

✅ SOURCES:

MMWR mask mandate study: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7010e3.htm

All pictures: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html#states https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/covid-19-vaccine-doses.html?name=styln-coronavirus&region=TOP_BANNER&block=storyline_menu_recirc&action=click&pgtype=Interactive&impression_id=&variant=1_Show

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Jenny

    Thank you and I was happy/sad and scared yesterday. Happy we have hope sad our Governor and so many people don’t listen to science. Scared that my peeps who aren’t vaccinated yet ( I get my second on Friday) will get this horrible virus AND WE ARE ONLY PROLONGING THIS BY BEING SELFISH. Open but keep the mask and distancing. Thank you for your always scientific reporting, if you only had a magic wand to make people listen!!

  2. Dan

    Thank you! Seriously, thank you! As a pastor, I’ve found your information very helpful. I have a couple of questions… If the vaccinations stop asymptomatic infection (meaning a vaccinated person can’t give Covid to another person) and the vaccinations stop disease in the vaccinated individual, wouldn’t that mean that a fully vaccinated person should not have to wear a mask? (because he/she can neither give nor get the disease?) I agree fully that non-vaccinated individuals should continue to wear a mask because they can still get and give Covid. I agree that there may be another surge coming, but wouldn’t that only occur in non-vaccinated people? I also agree that we don’t want to start checking vaccination cards at the door. However, how can we tell vaccinated people (that can neither give nor get Covid) that they should continue to mask? Please hear me… I’m not at ALL trying to be belligerent or hurtful. I’m genuinely asking. Is it because if we allow no masks, non-vaccinated people will take that liberty along with vaccinated people? Is it because we don’t want to go up to non-masked people and ask them if they’ve been vaccinated? Is the masking of vaccinated people about science or human behavior? TRULY trying to understand because, at some point, I’m going to have to make a definitive decision for my church. Thank you!

    1. Mr. AJ

      Vaccination is not 100% effective, and we don’t have enough evidence to say with certainty that a vaccinated individual cannot possible pass the virus on, even while not ill themselves.

      FNE, please correct me if this is inaccurate.

      1. Emily Smith

        Yes, you are correct. It is NOT 100% effective and we do not have conclusive evidence that it prevents spread. We have preliminary data that suggests it, but not conclusive.

  3. Victor Schoenbach

    Dan, you have eloquently expressed some of the dilemma we face in making specific recommendations in a situation where both evidence and the environment are evolving. Given many people’s distaste for wearing masks, it’s natural to want to put them aside. In addition, the prospect of putting away the mask serves as an incentive to obtaining the vaccine. But here are reasons for caution you may want to share with your congregation: (1) The early data about effectiveness in preventing infection (not only symptomatic illness) is very promising – 90% for fully vaccinated people could have a powerful public health benefit; but 90% is not a “guarantee”, since out of 100 vaccinated people who would have become infected without the vaccine, we expect that 10 will still become infected. (2) New COVID variants are spreading rapidly; the vaccine may not be as effective against them. (3) If the prevalence of infections is low in your community, then the risk is low, so 10% chance of infection makes one even safer; but if the prevalence of infections is high, then 10% still seems risky – by analogy, you’re probably comfortable walking somewhere when it’s sprinkling even if your umbrella is leaky, but perhaps not in a downpour. Vic Schoenbach, https://go.unc.edu/vjs

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