This post is going to be short and straight to the point because I don’t feel like I have time to edit it and make it beautiful – it’s urgent.
The new guideline – that people don’t need to wear a mask if they’re vaccinated – is dangerously lax and people will die because of it.
I understand why we’re doing this: we’re trying to make the vaccine more appealing to people who are on the fence. It is more appealing! It’s normalcy and it’s freedom!
But people will lie about being vaccinated. Children under 12 will continue to be unprotected, and their families and people who work with them will be at risk, too. Disabled kid folks, especially those who are immunocompromised, will continue to fear for their lives. Store clerks will be even more harassed and at risk for enforcing store mandates. I will continue to worry about bringing COVID to my pediatric cancer patients, even though I’ve been fully vaccinated for 3 months, because we simply don’t know enough about whether vaccinated people can be carriers to other people.
If I learn in a year that my caution was unwarranted, I’ll be okay – all it took was me wearing a piece of fabric over my face.
There were, of course, moments I needed (and still need) to put on more than cloth. My jaw hurts and my bottom row of teeth are out of alignment because of wearing an N95 two days a week. But I remember what it was like to work in a COVID ICU for seven months. The goodbye calls. The walks around the land of the living dead. The prayers for peace in halls of no peace. I will never be able to un-see the things I saw. The jaw pain and messy teeth are worth it. My life – and knowing that I protected others’ lives – is worth it.
I implore you to join me in continuing to wear masks with everyone but those in your immediate bubble. It’s a sign of respect of and care for neighbor. It’s a sign of looking out for “the least of these,” as Jesus said. It’s a protector of your own health.