You wouldn’t jump off a boat before it reaches the dock.
You wouldn’t jump out of a plane before it lands.
You wouldn’t do any of the metaphors that imply carelessly taking action before it’s safe.
So before you totally cast aside your masks, abandon social distancing and go back to shaking hands with strangers, realize that even though we’ve turned a corner on the coronavirus pandemic, and even though the government is easing restrictions, we’re not yet safe enough to jump all in to our old habits.
As of Friday, the state Health Department reported that only 51.3% of New Yorkers had gotten one dose of a two-dose vaccine and only 43.3% of the state population was fully vaccinated.
Vaccination rates vary from place to place, with local counties reporting anywhere from 32% to about 52% full vaccination.
To achieve herd immunity — when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease — the percentage should be between 75% and 90%.
We’re not close to herd immunity yet, and we shouldn’t act like we are.
As has been the case throughout the crisis, some of the new covid protocols are confusing and in conflict with one another. That has helped breed mistrust in the protocols and encouraged many people to abandon all precautions.
Many have asked, for instance, why 2-year-olds in daycare and camps now should be required to wear masks in close proximity, when they weren’t required to do so throughout the crisis so far.
Just follow the rules as best you can, and honor the wishes of those in charge.
Some businesses are keeping their mask and social distancing rules in place voluntarily, even though fully vaccinated individuals can go without masks indoors under the new guidelines.
In many cases, the decision is a safety precaution against people who aren’t fully vaccinated abandoning their masks dishonestly, entering their businesses unprotected and potentially spreading the virus to others.
Whatever their reasons, businesses are entitled to set their own health rules.
It’s unfair for citizens to flout the businesses’ rules and harass employees for enforcing them.
Do the right thing and don’t be a jerk.
If you’re not fully vaccinated, continue to wear your mask, even if no one checks. And if you don’t want to follow a business’s rules, shop elsewhere until everyone gives the all-clear.
And yes, some individuals will continue to wear masks, even if they’re fully vaccinated and even in places where they’re not required to wear them.
It’s none of your business why that person continues to take precautions, and it’s not your place to tell people how to act if they’re not harming you. So if you have a comment, keep it to yourself.
And if you haven’t been vaccinated, do it today. There are no good excuses.
We’re all in this pandemic together, and it will take us all to get out of it.
Be patient. Follow the rules. And do what’s best for yourself and others.