Listening to the CDC

Like everyone else, I groaned aloud about the revised CDC mask guidelines yesterday. I still trust the CDC guidance, and I’m sure many might disagree with me. I think some headlines overstate the CDC mask change. I don’t believe it’s a “reversal” per se. I think it’s common sense to wear a mask if you’re inside somewhere with a lot of people whose vaccination status you know nothing about.

I think it’s worthwhile to actually read the CDC web site’s mask guidance in the section entitled “When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated.” What it says is:

“To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoor in public if you are in an area of substantial transmission.”

It’s a good idea to check your geographical area (COVID-19 Integrated County View) to see what the transmission situation is. It’s moderate where we live in Iowa. That’s enough for me to go back to wearing a mask in tight quarters with people I don’t know.

I was dismayed to read an opinion piece entitled “Stop listening to the CDC,” in which the author said that “the vaccinated are not responsible for the unvaccinated, and vice versa.”

That made me remember my former pastor, Reverend Glen Bandel, who is now in his 90s. When my mother was very sick, he spent a long night sitting up with her. My brother and I were too little to manage the crisis by ourselves. She was unable to keep any food or fluid down and he made many trips from her room to the bathroom, to empty her bucket of vomit in the toilet. You could have made a case for hospitalizing her, but we somehow got by without it.

If we all believed that we are not responsible for each other, we would have been extinct long ago, let alone getting through this pandemic in the last 18 months. Not all of us who got the COVID-19 vaccine did it just for ourselves. I think a great many also did it for those they loved and for whom they felt responsible. This is called altruism and I think humans are still capable of it, despite what you read in the news.

Author: James Amos

I'm a retired consult-liaison psychiatrist. I navigated the path in a phased retirement program through the hospital where I was employed. I was fully retired as of June 30, 2020. This blog chronicles my journey.

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