Hear, hear! I was surprised how wonderful and NORMAL it felt to throw off my mask today among my fully-vaccinated co-workers and clients. I will of course respect the requests of businesses or friends that I visit regarding masking, but when it is up to me, I will be happily mask free until it seems necessary again. I agree with LosPer that it is a shame that some may take this to mean that I must be a conservative, but I don't let that stop me from flying my American flag either. Leftists with brains, represent!

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My husband and I are fully vaccinated and have resumed normal activities - live theater, baseball game, hugging friends, and so on. It's wonderful.

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Yes, Yascha, fully vaccinated people may appropriately go unmasked in more situations, and, with you, I rejoice in that. However, I don't think it's right to deride all seemingly-not-strictly-necessary mask wearing as signaling hygiene virtue, as you do. [A] You don't know what other people's health and relational situations are. {B] Not all people are up-to-the-minute on the CDC guidelines. [C] CDC guidelines are important, but do not reflect absolute knowledge of how the vaccines and this ever-evolving disease works, and some people are inclined to be more cautious -- nothing wrong with that. [D] Perhaps you have not noticed, but Trumpish COVID skeptics have taken to berating people for wearing masks as a culture war action; this article kind of does that. [E] A small number of people wore masks in public before COVID and probably more will do so into the future -- to protect against OTHER infections, again, for reasons to which you are not privy.

Bottom line: "Needless" mask wearing harms no one, and inconveniences only the mask wearer. Give 'em a break.

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I love this Yascha. Thanks. However...

"It's time to stop. Over the past year, we have had to make all kinds of adjustments to our everyday lives to combat a deadly pandemic. The reason to take these actions was to save lives, not to adopt a superior lifestyle or show off our virtue"

How are members of your tribe going to ensure people don't think somehow they are (*Darth Vader Music Plays*)Republicans?

Maybe Antifa and BLM need to issue lapel pins?


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As evidence, I offer this pathetic example: https://i.imgur.com/BNFVv0L.png

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I have read several iterations of this perspective. One common objection is that an unvaccinated individual has no way of knowing whether I am maskless because I have been vaccinated or because I don't care about transmitting covid. In this scenario, the only safe approach is to avoid everyone without masks as if they were unvaccinated. However, as the number of maskless vaccinated people rises, avoiding them all becomes untenable. Moreover the number of unvaccinated people who choose not to wear masks seems likely to rise as well.

To be clear, my hypothesis is if everyone followed your recommendation, unvaccinated people would grow tired of avoiding so many maskless potential vectors and ultimately stop trying. This would necessarily increase their odds of bumping into an unvaccinated maskless person and thereby contracting covid.

Personally, then, I can see the appeal of going maskless, but only once everyone who is likely to be vaccinated has been.

There are other considerations. For example, given the diffuse nature of indoor transmission and the near-complete absence of outdoor transmission, one could argue that close proximity to unmasked people was never particularly important. However, it remains valuable for unvaccinated people to wear masks indoors to reduce the amount of virus they release. For this reason, it seems important that e.g. bus drivers or owners of indoor businesses be able to tell who is vaccinated and who is not. I'm not certain this is possible.

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"Personally, then, I can see the appeal of going maskless, but only once everyone who is likely to be vaccinated has been."

I disagree. The science seems pretty clear at this point: if you are vaccinated, COVID is not really a concern for *you*, and *you* will not be a vector for someone else's infection. If someone asked me to mask up, I'd do it to be polite. But there is no logical reason for a vaccinated person to mask up.

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This has been on my mind as well: the problem for wait staff and so many others of not being able to know whether someone is telling the truth about being vaccinated. Vaccine passports can be helpful, but I'm here in Southern California, and having been fully vaccinated for well over a month, all I've got is my hand-written CDC card with the right information filled in with pen. Hardly as reliable as my Real ID driver's license. I am fortunate to have this in the medical record my insurer's app includes as supporting evidence, but how many people have and use something like that?

On the other hand, the new case rate here is the lowest in the country, according to the state-by-state chart the Washington Post updates daily: 4 new cases per 100,000, on a rolling 7-day average. And case rates nationally are also way, way down. The danger of new infections is very, very low, even for the unvaccinated, and now that we are past the worst days of the fears about overwhelmed ICUs, and know so much more about treatment, our fears can be reduced enormously. Still, the uncertainty and lingering concerns Sam mentions for people in public facing jobs, particularly in enclosed spaces, has real validity.

As with so many public policy quandaries, I think there is no uniform solution. We will have to muddle our way through this, as we've muddled our way through the earlier, far worse stages. Our tendency to see like a state (as James Scott examines) has given all of us a tendency to look for single-vector solutions (given the seal of approval by government and its political imprimatur) to multi-vector problems. We can't even imagine the small, daily judgments and accommodations millions of people make, based on their own reasons, that also flatten the curves that seem to, but can't, go up forever. There will be some of the weariness Yasha's waitress exhibited, and a few more confrontations for flight attendants to deal with, but I am beginning to feel the progress and the relaxation. We're getting there.

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