The vaccine is here, and for many, getting it could be just around the corner. This process has already been anything but perfect, with minority healthcare workers in some cities not getting the vaccine at the same rate as white healthcare workers, and one worker dying after getting his second shot. Health officials still can’t say whether or not we’ll need a COVID-19 vaccine every year, the same way we need a flu shot. Needless to say, the administering of the vaccine is no reason for everyone to let their guard down and behave as if we’ve conquered the virus. But it seems many Americans are taking it as a sign that they can lighten up on precautions.
If you get the malaria vaccine before traveling to a place known for malaria, do you then go play with mosquitos? Or, a more realistic example: After you’ve had your flu shot, do you go have an intimate snuggle with someone who you know has the flu? Probably not. So even for those who have had the vaccine, or mostly spend time with those who have been vaccinated, this is no time to get lazy about being safe. We might be close to conquering COVID-19 sometime soon, but if that knowledge drives everyone to make dumb decisions, things may get a whole lot worse before they get better. And we can’t really afford for things to get any worse. Here are ways we shouldn’t yet get lax about COVID-19.
No longer wearing masks outdoors
We know that being indoors with others right now is generally riskier than being outdoors with others, but the CDC reports that the biggest indicator of whether or not a person will become sick is proximity and time spent exposed to an infected person. That means that having a picnic, even outside, with an infected individual for a long period of time puts you at risk for getting the virus. If you’re going to the beach, going hiking on a crowded trail, or joining friends for an outdoor barbecue, keep your mask on. If you have designated seating areas at the barbecue, put on your mask if you must be near others to get food or use the bathroom.