OUR VIEW: CDC guidance on masks worth the wait

Published 8:30 am Friday, May 14, 2021

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If you’re fully vaccinated, then you can officially ditch your mask — at least most of the time.

We know that most residents of Troup County probably aren’t waiting on the Center for Disease Control to issue guidance on whether or not to wear a mask. Many made up their mind a long time ago — right or wrong — and are going to do what they determine best. Fair enough.

But it’s at least encouraging that the CDC issued new guidance Thursday saying that fully vaccinated citizens no longer need to wear a mask indoors. There are exceptions, such as when traveling by plane, but in most instances, masks are no longer a requirement for people who are fully vaccinated.

That’s a win for everyone, as it shows real progress in this fight against the virus. And on top of having no more masks, there’s also no more social distancing for fully vaccinated people.

How awesome is that?

We’re 14 months into the virus fight, and we are now to the point where enough people are fully vaccinated that many in our country can get back to mostly living life as completely normal.

More than a third — 35 percent to be exact — of the United States population is fully vaccinated now, and those numbers are growing every day.

On April 13 — one month ago — 22 percent of residents were fully vaccinated. That’s a big change in about a month.

On March 13, 11 percent of residents were fully vaccinated.

Hopefully by this time next month, we’ll be near 50 percent.

While we admit this is a big step, we’re also nowhere near the numbers we need in order to reach herd immunity. We’re roughly halfway there and still need a lot of people to get vaccinated to get there.

We’re not going to go down the road again asking you to consider a vaccination — at this point most have probably made up their mind. But if you want a vaccine, there are plenty of ways to get one at this point. If you were waiting due to the demand, it has slowed and there are plenty of opportunity available.

For the fully vaccinated people reading this, don’t burn your mask or throw it away just yet. The CDC warns that if conditions worsen, they could change their guidance down the road.

But we do hope you’ll celebrate a bit, as this is arguably the best news we’ve had during the pandemic so far.