CDC Lifting of Safety Requirements Poses a Huge Threat

Fully-vaccinated people in the United States are no longer required to wear masks in public or indoors, or to maintain six feet of social distancing, though restrictions may apply in specific states, as of May 13 according to the CDC. While approximately 33% of the Orange County population has been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC, it is key that residents still take precautions in continuing to stop the spread of COVID-19 to make sure cases do not rise and to protect those that are physically unable to receive the vaccine.

As of April 15, the CDC reported that out of 77 million fully-vaccinated individuals, there had been around 5,800 “breakthroughs,” which occur when a fully-vaccinated person gets diagnosed with COVID-19 — because none of the vaccines have yet to be proven 100% effective. With the chance that individuals who have received the vaccine can still contract COVID-19, others stand the risk of being infected from these breakthrough cases.

“As someone who hasn’t had the opportunity to get vaccinated yet, I don’t think it would be the best idea to just take away the mask and social distancing guidelines,” junior Sully Scott said. “If I happen to be in contact with someone that is a breakthrough case, without being vaccinated, there are so many risks involved, and just overall I feel safer with the mask and social distancing guidelines in place at least until the majority of people have gotten vaccinated.”

An estimated 70-85% of the population must be vaccinated or immune to the virus in order to be more-or-less fully protected, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director and chief medical adviser for the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

As of May 23, only 13.1% of the U.S. population has received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna, while 49.2% are fully vaccinated with two doses, or the one dose of Johnson and Johnson, according to California All COVID-19 data.

“Not everyone is vaccinated, and the percentages are less than half at this point,” Dr. David Kim, father of junior Emma Kim and family medicine provider at Kaiser Permanente, said. “Those that are not vaccinated can still potentially get COVID-19 at a much higher rate and create a little mini surge in their own pocket.”

Those that are not vaccinated can still potentially get COVID-19 at a much higher rate and create a little mini surge in their own pocket.”

— Dr. David Kim

For those eager to see their lives returning to “normal,” it may seem ridiculous to not forgo a mask at the first given opportunity. But it is still part of our job to protect our communities, which includes people who cannot get vaccinated or have not gotten the chance to. The slowing of COVID-19 does not mean it has been completely eradicated — until then, we must continue to adhere to the same safety measures. If it is never eradicated, it is important that we slow down the spread as much as possible.

“The CDC went from zero to 100 overnight,” emergency physician and CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen said in an interview with CNN. “The CDC is relying on the honor code, and we’re already seeing that the honor code is already not working. There are already many states and businesses that are essentially just taking their guidance and saying ‘that means that mask mandates and distancing all needs to end.'”

Until the majority of citizens have received the vaccines, it is the safest option to keep your masks on and hand sanitizer ready.