When can it be safe to shop in the grocery store or show up in the office without a mask? Earlier than most experts are willing to admit. If the current trend of the coronavirus epidemic in the United States continues, the need for masks outside of certain localized outbreak areas will disappear within a few weeks.
One way to think about this problem is through a way similar to seasonal flu. Under normal circumstances, almost no one wears a mask to prevent the flu, nor does anyone need to do so. In the worst flu season in recent years, an average of 220 people die every day across the country. The 7-day moving average of daily deaths from Covid-19 hovers around 900, but it’s still worse. But this is 78% less than since January, and this trend is beneficial in almost all parts of the country. When the 1
Vaccination is the main reason for the sharp decline in Covid cases and deaths. Approximately 3 million vaccines are injected every day. Once the immunity is strengthened, the risk of infection from the vaccination is negligible, let alone spreading the infection. If you have been vaccinated, wearing a mask has almost no direct safety benefits for yourself or others. You still only need to do this, because immunity is invisible. It is impractical to impose a mask or wear a mask only on people who are vulnerable or who may be at risk.
However, herd immunity can be achieved at some point: sufficient herd immunity can minimize the risk of infection of the entire herd. Anthony Fauci set the threshold for cattle immunization at 85% of the U.S. population, including children, to be fully vaccinated. Since the vaccine is only authorized for patients 16 years of age and older, and not all adults are willing to accept it, Dr. Fauci’s goal is almost certain, and it will not be achieved even in another year. The current figure only accounts for 17% of the total population.
Dr. Fauci’s baseline level is too high. He ignores many unvaccinated Americans (since seroepidemiological studies show that the actual incidence is three to 20 times the captured infection), there may be as many as 120 million who are immune from previous infections. A recent large-scale study in Denmark estimated that previous infections provide approximately 80% protection for patients under 65 years of age and 47% protection for older patients. This difference is why it is important to prioritize vaccinations for the elderly, as the US authorities have done. Due to the combined effect of these factors, we may exceed 50% of the overall immunity in the next one or two weeks.