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Vaccinated Americans now may go without masks in most places, the CDC said (nytimes.com)
312 points by dsr12 32 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 871 comments



All: I know it's a topic that brings up strong feelings, but please only post if you're in a curious state [1]—not an agitated one. We all get agitated, because we're all human—but it leads to repetitive, predictable, and eventually nasty internet comments, so please don't go there until that subsides.

The story is on topic because it's significant new information [2], but we're only going to get an interesting thread if people stick to the guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.

[1] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...

[2] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&so...



I have a personal theory that humans do not fully understand death rate when it's spread out widely across many geographic areas. Let's say, for instance, that the covid19 death rate is about 450 people a day. It might be more or less than that right now, I haven't specifically checked (but I do recall that it's easily been 2000-3000 a day for some periods of time in very recent memory). But that might be 450 people where 1 dies in some town, another 2 die in another city, and so on, totaling 450.

Whereas if you were to load a 747-400 with 450 people and fly it into the side of a mountain in one catastrophic absurd event every day of the week, for months, it would be shocking world stopping news. Why? What changed? It's the same number of dead people, right?

Following this theory to a further extent, I think it helps to explain a lot about the people who believe covid19 is a "hoax" or a "scam". They don't see it, it isn't splashy and shocking, it's diffuse and spread out in such a way that their instinctual response is to go "just get on with your life...".


I think your point cuts both ways. People can’t appreciate how big the US population is and the normal death rate. Every year around 2.8 million people die in the US from all causes. Around 7,500 people every day. So 450 a day isn’t that incredible of a number given the scale of the population.

When an airplane crashes, the reaction is less about loss of 100-300 lives, but the way in which it happens. If a loaded 747 crashed every day, the negative reaction wouldn’t be primarily because people died (that happens en masse daily), but because the safest mode of travel just became unsafe.


That is a good point. Somewhat similar, we seem to accept in the range of 10,000-11,000 drunk driving deaths a year as fairly normal [1]. Because it is, for the most part, a widely spread out set of events with a few cars crashing by themselves, or into one other car... Yet we still drive everywhere. But if you ask people, someone might tell you that they're more nervous flying (despite statistics clearly showing that per hour of driving, or per hour riding in a 777, you're far more likely to die in the car).

1: https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving


How about 1,300 deaths a day from smoking?

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast...


I consider this somewhat different because people who smoke knowingly do it onto themselves. If people think the benefits outweigh the risks, I don't see that as a "failure" in any way.

Passive smoking is the main cause of harm to _other_ people and is unsurprisingly also the thing that's the most regulated. (Smoking in bars etc.)


At this point, isn't non-mask-wearing somewhat similar? The death risk to vaccinated people (for now) is lower than for getting the flu (even with the flu vaccine). So, the risk is only significant to unvaccinated people, who have had plenty of opportunity to get the shot. So the risk here to those people isn't from themselves (like in smoking), but from others - but the risk is their own choice to take?


It always amazes me how casual people are about traveling at 70+ mph with opposing traffic traveling at similar speeds, sometimes less than 4 feet to your left with no protection other than a few inches of paint. There are some places that you could die just from losing focus for less than a second.

USA roads are seriously scary. It's no small wonder that drunk drivers kill so many people.


I don't think "the safest mode of travel just became unsafe" is really what is going on. If 400 people die in a single incident, it doesn't matter so much what people's association of how safe what they are doing is. If that many die in a fire, or a ship sinking, or a flood, or whatever.... the reason we care is because it is a singular event.


You could the logic of broken precedent of assumed safety to people shopping in a grocery store and contracting Covid. What's safer than buying groceries or hanging out at a friend's BBQ? No one was doing anything ostensibly dangerous or out of the ordinary.

The only thing that makes sense is if we admit that there is a deliberate attempt to deprogram the masses and politicize science. People are indifferent because they're instructed to be on a daily basis by the talking heads.


Agree. To add, 450 individuals dying separately from different causes in different places is not as newsworthy as 450 people dying in one event in one place in spectacular fashion.


> What changed? It's the same number of dead people, right?

Aside from general aviation concerns, that 747-400 will have young families, infants and children on board, whereas exposing everyone on that 747-400 to COVID-19 would mostly result in the deaths of the elderly and the infirm.

If we had an outbreak of Spanish flu with the same overall death rate it would not be as bad. It would be much worse. The deaths of the young who have their whole life ahead of them is a much worse outcome than someone who statistically would be dead anyway from old age or other disease in a few years.

This is intuitively understandable to every human being. If a 95 year old dies in their sleep we mourn them but think "wow, they made it to 95!". If an infant dies in their sleep it's a tragedy.

I genuinely don't understand why everyone has insisted on talking about COVID-19 in terms of absolute deaths. For everything else like heart disease etc. we talk about statistically "losing X years of life".

The median age of death for COVID-19 has been at or above the statistical life expectancy.

In the worst case we could have an outbreak of another strain of Coronavirus next year that'll kill 1/2 as many as COVID-19, but disproportionately target those under 10 years of age. Because of this nonsensical messaging people will think "oh, only half as bad as COVID-19".


> I genuinely don't understand why everyone has insisted on talking about COVID-19 in terms of absolute deaths. For everything else like heart disease etc. we talk about statistically "losing X years of life".

We do this because people misunderstand the "losing x years of life" statistics...

> The median age of death for COVID-19 has been at or above the statistical life expectancy.

...just like you've done here.

https://wellcomeopenresearch.org/articles/5-75

> Results: Using the standard WHO life tables, YLL per COVID-19 death was 14 for men and 12 for women. After adjustment for number and type of LTCs, the mean YLL was slightly lower, but remained high (11.6 and 9.4 years for men and women, respectively). The number and type of LTCs led to wide variability in the estimated YLL at a given age (e.g. at ≥80 years, YLL was >10 years for people with 0 LTCs, and <3 years for people with ≥6).

> Conclusions: Deaths from COVID-19 represent a substantial burden in terms of per-person YLL, more than a decade, even after adjusting for the typical number and type of LTCs found in people dying of COVID-19. The extent of multimorbidity heavily influences the estimated YLL at a given age. More comprehensive and standardised collection of data (including LTC type, severity, and potential confounders such as socioeconomic-deprivation and care-home status) is needed to optimise YLL estimates for specific populations, and to understand the global burden of COVID-19, and guide policy-making and interventions.


> For everything else like heart disease etc. we talk about statistically "losing X years of life".

> We do this because people misunderstand the "losing x years of life" statistics...

It makes sense, but this is honestly the first time I've heard anything expressed this way. Perhaps geographical differences.

What I thought you were going to say was what's been annoying the hell out of me all pandemic: no shit [very populous country] has massively higher #new infections and #deaths than [tiny country]..

There's just no value in it beyond internal comparisons over time (which you could do with any externally relevant relative measure too), but that won't stop the press of course! Absolute numbers are bigger!

(Perhaps one day they'll work out they could use it to their advantage - '#UK deaths per billion'...)


> ...just like you've done here.

For what it's worth I did not mean to imply a relationship between the average median life expectancy for the population as a whole and the life expediency of a person who's reached that age.

As you point out doing so would be a statistical fallacy. E.g. someone who's reached the age of 5 has already made it "past" infant mortality, and therefore has a higher life expectancy than a newborn.

I was using it as a shorthand to reference how lopsided the age distribution of COVID-19 deaths is. We can quibble over whether an 80 year old who's died from it would have lived an extra 0, 1, 5, 10 years.

But even if you were to completely misunderstand how life expectancy works, you'd be a lot more accurate than the GP's reference to a 747 crashing into a mountain, since that example implies deaths from a random sample of the population. Now instead of being off by 5-10 years you're off by many decades.


Early on, I read that even though people who die of covid are typically old, they have plenty of time left. E.g. an 85 year old dies, who would be expected to live 10 more years.


That study only compared age at death to life expectancy at that age. Since those who die from covid are generally in much poorer health than average, the real number is somewhere much lower than that, although I’m sure finding a way to estimate it would be pretty difficult.


Median age of COVID deaths here in the UK is 83[1]. Life expectancy is 81.

1: https://www.ons.gov.uk/aboutus/transparencyandgovernance/fre...


Life expectancy for an 83 year old is 90 (male) or 91 (female):

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthan...


COVID largely impacted only the geriatric and obese. If the airplane were full of women and children then your analogy would be more poignant.

Edit: interesting note … if you were to take the number of deaths in the Second World War that would amount to 86 fully loaded 747 aircraft flying into the side of a mountain per day for six years.


And I believe that humans are so closed off from reality and don't care about others so much the point that they don't realize how little of a rate that is compared to everything else. We got people claiming they almost died from covid. Then testing negative realizing that they just got normal flu, holy crap normal flu is so bad it can make you lose weight? Yes idiot.

I just spent about 3 months non-stop hospital visits for the past year and a half for open reduction internal fixation multiple times. The hospital was empty like literally the lights are out in this hallway I have to find the light switch and turn it on so that I can go down to the X-ray room. This is a city of 300,000 with an empty hospital. Yet they claim it's full when all 35 covid beds are taken. I walked all around the hospital hoax fake are the first words that came to my mind.


I think it has a lot to do with expectations and how they need to change in light of such an event.

In 2017 there were no commercial passenger jet deaths - that's how amazingly safe these machines are. Any such crash casts doubt on this idea.

Imagine the difference between "literally perfectly safe" and "can (rarely) cause death".

Same with events like 9/11 - no one going to work that day expected to die like this just hours later.

Pneumonia has a death rate of up to 10% among hospitalized patients(mostly older folks), so people who drop off their parent at the hospital are often already mentally preparing for the worst.


well, not literally perfectly safe. just not enough data


We should probably change how it is talked about then, because there is a fairly constant flow of medical reports showing that even young who catch Covid and have minimal symptoms actually have severe hidden internal organ damage which is predicted to result in a generation with heart and lung problems in the next couple of decades.


>"The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic." – Josef Stalin

not necessarily because humans don't care, but simply because most humans don't usually reason with numbers that large. I can understand the approximate size and volume of a dozen eggs. I can't for a million unless you show me an acre stacked with them. Death tolls are similar.


For some people the goalposts are moving faster than the speed of light.

The goal was to flatten the curve. Remember that? Flatten. The. Curve.

Is the curve not flat? How much flatter do you want it to be before returning to normal life? Do you want literally 0.000% risk?


There is a worryingly large constituency, mostly on Twitter, who believe that any unjust death at all is damning evidence that all of our institutions and economic systems must be destroyed and rebuilt. Of course unjust death is tragic, but it's not an excuse to throw out all of society and start over again. I think many of these people saw mask mandates as that "rebuilding society" step, and to get rid of it so quickly (despite it being like a year) is evidence that the state "learned nothing", so to say. I even saw someone say something like "I can't believe the anti-maskers won" which so succinctly ties up the stupid reality of our political atmosphere: you can't do anything, anything at all without it being seen as a goal attempt into the other side's net.

I really do believe that a large amount of people do want 0.000% risk, and they'd be happy to wear masks until 2030 to guarantee it.

As for myself, I'm fully vaccinated but will continue to wear masks to make other people feel comfortable. But even before being vaccinated I didn't care too much if people wore masks around me and I certainly won't care now.


I’d be pretty careful drawing any conclusions about the mood of the nation from Twitter. The Twitter crowd are very loud and quite extremist but I believe they are small in number. To be honest I’d just avoid Twitter all together. Nothing good comes out of it.


Debating how small or big they are is fruitless when their power and impact via their network effect is palpable. "Avoiding Twitter" and it's collection of extremists (and their followers that signal boost) is not possible. These people have their tweets and reactions in the news, they are constantly quoted on blogs and websites.

I'd argue the opposite that you are. Twitter extremists influence the rest of the nation and it's easy to see how the network effect has some decay on their ideas, but the thorny points remain.

At some point you have to stop treating Twitter and Twitter users like an isolation zone.


If you are someone who is active on Twitter, your thoughts about how important Twitter is are biased by your engagement with it. None of the actual people I know and talk to in real life harbor any sort of extremist views one way or another. Literally none of them ever mention Twitter in daily conversation. (And many of them are software devs.)

IMO their statements are amplified by things like national media because of their extremism; the extremism generates strong feelings (whether positive or negative), and strong feelings leads to more eyes on the media for longer. That doesn't mean the people consuming the media also have those extremist beliefs.


> If you are someone who is active on Twitter, your thoughts about how important Twitter is are biased by your engagement with it.

I don't have Twitter.

> Literally none of them ever mention Twitter in daily conversation. (And many of them are software devs.)

Network effects do not cause or force you to acknowledge a source. They merely require you to trust the mental gymnastics of the person who communicated the idea to you.

> That doesn't mean the people consuming the media also have those extremist belief

Generally the people adopting will adopt bits an pieces, this is what I described as "decay".

The rest I agree with.


I wish companies and politicians would follow your recommendation.


You could post this in nearly every hackernews thread and I'd upvote you each time for being the most relevant comment on the page.


I wish these people would go after cars, they're much worse and they seem to be effective at changing policy.


The individuals on Twitter are an extremist “mob” on both sides of the political spectrum that really has little relevance to larger society, except for politicians and the like who use it for communication.

Follow the science and draw your conclusions for your own life and don’t let the mob bully you, they are living in a world where dogma/politics trumps science [full disclosure that is word choice, I’m independent btw & not a Trump supporter].

I double masked up until 2 weeks after the second mRNA shot (early April), at which time COVID was effectively over for me. If others want to wear masks for years of that makes them feel better that’s totally ok, but the reality is that the pandemic is over for the vaccinated, although I’d get a booster if needed.

Also if we do have to wear masks for another pandemic I absolutely will, but not any longer than needed they really mess with my ability to read facial expressions and communicate.

The political landscape has also changed now so that the government is forced to admit that and now the fully vaccinated can go shopping without masks. It is about damn time. This pandemic has damaged the mental health of the nation but finally rolling back restrictions is the best way to give everyone an end to the pandemic that is in sight.


The goal was to minimize casualties and human misery, to prevent what some countries are going through right now. Flatten the curve was a slogan.


Lock downs also cause huge misery. Recessions are not victimless.


You would choose what is happening now in India instead?


What's happening in India is a culmination of immense population density, dismissing and ignoring of recommendations by the government, dissemination of propaganda, massive incompetence, etc etc

It's not a binary choice. There is a huge amount of room between the two. I believe you know that, so think about whether your comment was made in good faith.


The situation in India is the result of all the things you mentioned + recklessness of people. You have to see it first hand that how reckless people acted in large cities. They were acting like this covid thing doesn't even exist and that is one crucial point.


Pretty sure if you’d allowed or even encouraged unmitigated spread of the virus, you’d also get the same or similar recession, though perhaps slightly later.


Of course. If going out and working and consuming is dangerous, many people will not do it, even if there is no lockdown. More people will just be extremely careful. And there is some direct cost to the sickeness and death.

This was published well over a year ago.

https://news.mit.edu/2020/pandemic-health-response-economic-...


if Indian numbers have to be trusted they are really not that bad, some European countries had even worse numbers per capita

people sometimes forget the size of Indian population and just look at nominal numbers instead per capita numbers, considering how poor is India and how bad is Indian healthcare these numbers comparable wiuth Europe are actually pretty low


I don’t think anyone trusts the Indian government numbers; they are downplaying, lying, and just overwhelmed. It will take a long time probably before before we get a real accounting for deaths, but everything I’ve read points to at least 5x - 10x the official numbers.

You’ll eventually get your answer though to the question of “what if we didn’t do lockdowns and just let it run” - I don’t think it will be pretty.


All the news articles I've seen mention that actual numbers are perhaps 10x or more the reported numbers due to lack of testing and overwhelmed healthcare.


Those European countries have markedly different age pyramids than India


lesser of 2 evils


What recession?


social, educational, economic


Lock downs didn’t last that long. By the time the second wave hit, everything besides large in person gatherings wetback to normal. At least in the mid west.


> a slogan

So it was a white lie?


Perhaps reality is too nuanced to fit into a single sentence? Or new information comes along that updates our understanding of the world?


It wasn't a single sentence. Articles, explainer videos, infographics etc. The goal was to force daily numbers and active hospitalizations below healthcare capacity. To smear out the infections across time. So instead of 2 weeks, it would be several months. The idea was that even if we can't reduce the total infections, we can prevent deaths if we reduce the load on hospitals. But people have extremely short memory span and nobody remembers anymore.


I remember it very well. Yep, they said flatten the curve. People did, there was confusion about masks, guidance changed. The president said some things about bleach, lockdowns, recession, NYC overloaded, stimulus, reopenings, public protests, Sturgis, peace in the middle east, vans picking up people off the street, elections, the Thanksgiving surge, hospitals full, Jan 6. So forgive me if I don't really put a lot of weight into what was initially said at the beginning of the pandemic. It reflected the understanding of the time.

As an aside, I'll just say I my opinion that it worked. With a few limited exceptions we didn't experience what India is doing through right now. I credit lockdowns and mask wearing for much of that.


We are under lockdown for more than a year now to save old and obese people, most of whom would have died anyway in this year (or perhaps in <5).

Started as just a few weeks and became over a year and who know if next year will be back to normal...


Oh I'm totally in favor of pushing fat granny in front of the trolley. Take the utilitarian approach! But it does kill younger people in lesser numbers, and potentially permanent damage to be people's brains, cardiovascular systems. What about them?

As an aside, my fat granny is watching my kids right now so she's not totally useless.


nobody ever said the end goal was to flatten the curve. like everything else, we are playing it by ear, to suggest we had plans to do otherwise is just writing your own history


> Is the curve not flat?

Yes, thanks to all the regulations.

> How much flatter do you want it to be before returning to normal life?

When returning to normal life, you want to curve to stay flat. So when a majority of people are vaccinated.


> Yes, thanks to all the regulations.

No. That was months ago. What about those with vaccination or reconvalescence immunity? Those don't affect the curve?


A majority of people ARE vaccinated in the US. And you're vaccinating over 1% more per day. Don't undersell yourselves.


36.3% are fully vaccinated. It is great progress. But it is not a majority.


Currently 46.6% of the population. Over 2m/day on average being vaccinated.


NB: codingdave is referring to fully vaccinated individuals, while greedo is referring to individuals with at least one shot. Both are correct.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine-trac...


@scrollaway is most definitely _not_ correct however, since no number below 50% is “a majority” of the population by definition, and regardless that is not a sufficient number to deliver value in the form of herd immunity via vaccine.


"flatten the curve" was essentially a marketing slogan (which worked remarkably well, by the way, in terms of market penetration). So let's not worry too much about that.

With exponential growth, numbers either trend to 0 or to infinity, and they do so very quickly. There's only 2 endgames possible in a pandemic:

(1) The numbers trend to 0 and the risk is 0.00% (see: polio)

(2) The numbers trend to infinity (i.e. the disease goes endemic) and risk is equal to whatever risk the disease carries on infection/reinfection over your lifetime (see: the spanish flu)

Pre-vaccine, "flatten the curve" and other marketing-speak meant "stall on option 2 because we can't handle that level of risk in our society right now" - hospitals overflowing, etc. The death rate would have been out of control if we went straight to infinity at the infection rates we were seeing.

With the vaccine rollout, and with medical advances in treating severe covid, we've dramatically lowered the risk of option 2, and additionally we've opened the door to potentially taking option 1.

The CDC is probably gunning for option 1 here (and based on data in Israel it seems like it's possible with a high enough vaccination rate, although I think globally it will be a challenge).

If you keep this framework in mind, the goalposts haven't really moved at all- just the marketing used (hence: "flatten the curve" became "new normal" which then became "get vaccinated")

Edit: Evidently discussion about this sort of thing is quite polarizing. Just to be clear, this is a personal analysis of decision makers' true "goalposts", as the parent post seemed distressed by the moving of goalposts

I'm not advocating for or defending any particular policy, so please don't interpret my post as such. Thank you.


Yes, I want the virus eliminated.


This is completely unreasonable. We've never been able to eradicate any disease that affects humans other than smallpox, and not for lack of trying.


This is false. We've eradicated SARS-CoV-1, for example. The last case was in 2004. And New Zealand, Australia, and Taiwan outright eliminated COVID community spread domestically (Australia did it twice!), proving it is possible.


I thought with SARS-CoV-1, no people have it, but animals still do, and it could jump back to people from them, so it isn't considered eradicated yet.

And stopping community spread in a few countries is totally different than global eradication.


Well no thank you, I'm not an Australian or American but I want my citizens to be allowed to turn home. Saving your population from each covid death is perfect excuse for fascism, Trump should have been used it to build 3 walls by the look of how people are willing to accept this position.


The case numbers coming out of Israel show their (still ongoing) vaccination effort is on the precipice of eliminating it locally. So it seems incredibly reasonable it will be eliminated, at least from the developed world. From that point any reintroduction of the virus is unlikely to gain a foothold.


yeah then what happens when you reopen international travel lol


As I said, it can't get a foothold. If vaccinations are enough to keep the r0 below 1, which seems to be the case, it doesn't really matter how many infected people enter because it will fizzle out again. Vaccines are also likely to be mandatory for anyone traveling.


Stay inside or wear an N95. The rest of us are returning to life.


You mean like we did with flu?


Can I ask why? That feels like an enormously bigger lift for not much more gain over "the virus exists but vaccines relegate it to the level of a mere cold amongst vaccinated people," for instance.


COVID's long incubation time while infectious makes it potentially the most lethal disease ever. Most colds and flus evolve to be less lethal because lethal variants die out before spreading too far, making them evolutionarily less advantageous. That is NOT true of COVID, so there is potentially nothing preventing it from morphing into something more like MERS with a 20-30% fatality rate.

As bad as COVID was, we dodged an existential bullet. But why stay in the line of fire? We need to eradicate this disease.


> COVID's long incubation time while infectious makes it potentially the most lethal disease ever.

"Most lethal disease ever" is a really strong claim, so I would like to see some of the evidence that leads you to believe that. The r0 of measles, which still infects 20 million people a year, is substantially higher than COVID's, and though its death rate in developed countries is lower, the higher r0 means it is potentially more deadly.[1]

Would you share some of the evidence backing the claim that COVID will not/is unlikely to evolve to become less lethal? If COVID did morph into something more lethal, wouldn't that affect its evolutionary fitness in such a way that the more lethal variant would eventually die out, as both SARS and MERS did?

I understand that you feel COVID is a unique threat and needs a unique response. I'm not convinced COVID is so unique that it escapes the same rules of evolutionary biology that impact other viruses, and even if it did, I am not convinced the necessary response is therefore 100% eradication. (And even if I were, I'd be extremely worried about perfect being the enemy of good.)

> But why stay in the line of fire?

We are still, and always will be, in the line of fire. COVID is not the first coronavirus of its kind to come up this way, and it won't be the last.

That doesn't necessarily mean we should or shouldn't eradicate it, but I think there may be a bias here where we assume that because COVID is the disease we're dealing with now, it is also the worst one.

[1] https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3...


Your comment doesn’t address what I wrote. Unlike most other diseases, COVID has no evolutionary pressure to become less lethal over time.


It did - I asked you to provide evidence for that claim, and some of the others you made. It's a strong assertion and it needs strong evidence.

To be clear, I'm not trying to suggest COVID isn't lethal or isn't unique at all. I am suggesting that the idea it is so unique as to be excluded from selective pressure to become less lethal over time is a claim that requires evidence.


You can't flatten the curve and then immediately throw away all caution and go back to the behavior that made the curve a geometric progression.


Fortunately, we’re not. In between, there was a vaccine developed and deployed and the science strongly (overwhelmingly is probably more precise) suggests that fully vaccinated people are at minimal risk to themselves and minimal risk to spread, which is of course the entire point of vaccines and entirely unsurprising given our understanding and long experience with other vaccines, which almost all exhibited the same disease control properties.

Getting vaccinated seems to me to be the exact opposite of throwing away all caution.


I quite agree, but I think the message from health authorities has also been problematic here: they repeated that "vaccinated individuals will still spread the infection".

That is true of course: some vaccinated individuals will still spread the infection because efficacy is not 100 %. But the public has, predictably, got this message wrong: I keep getting told that "vaccinated people will get the infection and spread it just the same".

No, not just the same. Vaccinated people are radically less likely to infect others. I do understand that the officials wanted to be careful and not encourage people to move around after being vaccinated, but perhaps they could have again worded their message differently, to be more honest and direct.


Yes, that's the confusing bit.

In February, the CDC said that those with the vaccine can have asymptomatic infections (https://web.archive.org/web/20210209162120/https://www.cdc.g...). The NY Times used the term "silent spreaders".

Then in March the CDC's guidance was to continue wearing a mask after vaccination, except in situations where transmission risk was minimal (such as when everyone present has been vaccinated). They said we should do this while we're still learning about how vaccines affect the spread of the virus (https://web.archive.org/web/20210308164227/https://www.cdc.g...).

Now the CDC is saying fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear a mask (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vac...), but no reason has been given for the change on that page. Were they wrong on asymptomatic infections in fully vaccinated individuals, or has the risk of spread simply been lowered because of the number of individuals who have received a vaccine?

Without knowing the reason behind the change in guidance (I'm sure there is one), I find it easy to be cynical and distrusting.


The changes can be explained by two simple factors, without the need for some grand nefarious conspiracy:

* The CDC's default position is caution * We know more now than we did in the past

In February, we realized vaccinated people could still get asymptomatic infections. Out of an abundance of caution, the CDC recommends vaccinated people keep wearing masks because the vast majority of the population isn't vaccinated.

As evidence accumulates in the intermediate time, we realize that vaccines also lower the percentage of people with asymptomatic Covid-19 [1]

With even more evidence, we realize vaccinated people overwhelmingly avoid hospitalization, which is the real issue we are trying to avoid [2]

With those two pieces of information, the CDC can now change their recommendation. Nothing nefarious going on, nothing 'unknowable' to anyone paying attention.

The problem is when people who are already predisposed to distrust the CDC - most likely due to their media diet - and put 0 effort in understanding the changing landscape see the CDC change the recommendation and assume it must be 'something political'. Those of us who were paying attention weren't that surprised about the announcement.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-br...

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p0428-vaccinated-adu...


I don't have a source for you, but my understanding is that the main reason for the change is that very recent studies have shown that people with vaccines and asymptomatic "breakthrough" infections carry a much lower viral load + viral shedding than previously thought. So even those vaccinated people who may have an asymptomatic infection are really at an extremely minimal chance to spread it to anyone else; they just aren't shedding enough virus particles to make the risk high.


I think many of us on HN object to imprecise messaging, sometimes to the point where it’s technically incorrect.

But I also have to admit that “Defund the Police”, “Flatten the Curve”, “I have a dream”, “Think Different” are more effective than a precise 2-page memo laying out a concrete plan.

Some people struggle with nuanced, complicated messaging. Others struggle when messages are over-simplified. I posit that the first group is a few orders of magnitude larger, at least in terms of effect of public comms.


There's almost a year between the time we originally went into lockdown to 'flatten the curve' and the time a significant part of the population got vaccinated. You can't pretend that not using a mask now - once someone is vaccinated - is the same as not using a mask back then.


I didn't wear one then, and don't wear one now.


So basically what you are saying is that you drew your conclusion back then - who knows based on what data - and you are so set in your ways, there’s nothing that will change your mind.

Sounds like a super healthy way to approach life.


N95 masks ($2/day) + vaccines would almost certainly eliminate COVID19.

Wouldn't it be nice to eliminate COVID19?

Look at the heroics for WWI and WWII. And those caused fewer combat deaths.

You can't pretend Americans haven't grown selfish and lazy.


Once we achieve widespread (and seemingly very effective) vaccines, it’s not at all clear to me that spending trillions per year on masks for everyone and generating that additional amount of trash is the best use of those funds or “inconvenience points”.


Trillions?

That's the harm to the economy. That's not the cost of masks.

Providing everyone in the US with two high-quality N95-equivalent masks each week for a year would be at most $60 billion. ($2 per mask * 100 masks * 300 million people, at retail prices).

We didn't do that. Our kids have a half-year of learning loss. Small businesses around me closed, and a ton of people fell behind on mortgages. We're looking at pretty high inflation from how we've expended our money supply, eventually. Etc.

Part of the reason these things look like bad use of funds is that people don't do ROI calculations, and confuse millions, billions, and trillions. A trillion is a thousand times more than a billion, and a million times more than a million. But to everyone a MILLION dollars looks like a big number, as does a TRILLION dollars.

People also confuse the ridiculously high effectiveness of proper masks with the fairly low effectiveness of cloth masks.


> Providing everyone in the US

Can people not in the US harbor the virus? I assumed you were trying to eradicate it and to do so with your original figure of $2/day/person masks, it’s trillions per year worldwide. You later silently amended (not sure if in error or moving the goalpost) that figure to 2 masks/week in your $60B/yr estimate to cover most, not all, of the people in the US.

$2/day/person * 365 day/year * 7.5 B people/world -> over $5T/year/world

Thanks for the unneeded lesson on powers of 10, though.


sigh

* My comment was about the US. See the last line of my comment.

* In the US, the economic gains of having rolled out N95 and equivalent masks when they become widely available would have cost orders-of-magnitude less than the masks. Ending COVID19 sooner would still pay for a program like this today.

* Whether or not the vaccine will stop COVID19 is still TBD. We don't have good numbers on impact on spread, on ultimate vaccination rates, nor on mutations. It seems on-track, but still TBD.

* Yes, similar measures would need to be taken elsewhere to fully eradicate the virus, and that's assuming no animal stores. Doing math there brings up a million apples-to-oranges comparisons.

* Numbers in second post were was based on similar (successful) programs implemented in Taiwan and Korea, which did stop COVID19 (pre-vaccine) and allowed those economies to continue functioning, while ours imploded. Quotas were 2-3 per week, and everyone was required to use (and reuse) them. My second comment was more precise, if anything.


Half of the US population is vaccinated now. There's no going back to a geometric progression.


How cynical is it to question whether or not this was timed at least in part to bolster economic outlook in the face of the market shrinkage this week over inflation fears?

(Experts have been asking for more explicit guidance from the CDC for months now.)

Edit: for reference, up until this point, the CDC has not even been willing to concede the safety of outdoor activities: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/11/briefing/outdoor-covid-tr...


Not cynical at all.

There are a ton of factors worth considering, the jobs report and economic outlook at the top of the list IMO. Next are the set of realities that require confronting... such as the facts that vaccination sites are sitting vacant and doses are going to waste, everyone who got a vaccine has at least one dose and everyone who hasn't got one yet probably never will, states like FL and TX "reopening completely" regardless... and honestly, the people at large are pretty much unfazed, at this point, by hospitalization/death numbers that stay flat or trend somewhat downward. And(!), not to mention, the fact that no politician wants to be caught dead approving another round of stimulus checks and paycheck loans.

I do wonder if they will try and stimulate the retail/hospitality industries though as one more nudge undercover as a COVID measure rather than economic austerity.


I am as cynical as you but I suspect the tipping point is probably more when even CNN has been calling the CDC’s bullshit on air.


A straightforward explanation is that cases are going down even in places that had large recent outbreaks like Michigan and the communication about masking is frequently cited by people that are on the fence about getting vaccinated.


I can't judge your cynicism, but I can say it's quite suspect that media outlets—apparently—behaved as the mouthpiece of the state:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27145446


Why is it suspect? It's huge news, and will affect businesses, events, weddings, vacation, personal life for the millions of people who have still been taking public health and the CDC seriously. It's news. And I don't think it's surprising that they would have the scoop around the same time.


It’s not that it is all over the news nor that they all had the news at roughly the same time; it’s that they apparently released news saying the CDC said so before the CDC actually publicly said so.


Press releases are issued in embargo constantly; this is not new or surprising. Every single press release we issued was embargo’d until a certain time, when basically everyone covered it at once.


Also, it's worth noting that this is usually done with good intentions: News outlets are highly incentivized to be the first one to break any particular story, so if a press release is not embargo'd, everyone will rush as fast as possible (on the order of minutes) to make it into a news alert. Even assuming the best possible reporter, such an article is bound to be poorly researched and edited because it is being rushed out. By putting a press release under a few hours of embargo, news outlets get a bit more time to prepare their coverage before it goes live.

(Please don't reply with specific examples where this standard is not upheld. I'm clearly not arguing that this strategy is 100% effective.)


The CDC has no authority regarding the masking of either vaccinated or unvaccinated people. Its guidelines may influence state response, but they do not supercede or even augment them. Yet they have been treated as supreme authority by many, as you well point out.

I understand the importance of unified messaging, please don't get me wrong. But the media has acted as the mouthpiece of the state for years, and this is yet another example of that.

Why might this be harmful? Can you conceive of why such marriage between the state and the press may not be in the best interest of the people?


Meh, I don’t think it’s that complicated. It’s because vaccines have finally been widely available for approximately the time it takes to achieve immunity.


[flagged]


>Americans are very patriotic. Singing the national anthem and waving the flag is second nature.

I'm pretty sick of these kind of nation-based generalizations.

They're never as true as the person pretends they are, and they're usually just thinnly-veiled hate speech of various types.

Generalizing other human beings by what country they were given membership to -- usually uncontrolled by birth, by the way -- is about the weakest way to gain an insight into the persona of another person.


This is especially true given how common criticism of the US is among Americans these days. Not to mention it also leaves out that plenty of other countries around the world don't hesitate to sing their national anthem and wave their flag either.


I think the criticism is valid, especially from its own citizens. What I found most bizarre is how kids are trained/required/mandated to pledge allegiance to the flag EVERY day without even knowing what they are actually doing. 30minutes later as the lesson unfolds we hear of how atrocious those Nazi Germans were- how brainwashed the Japs were, condemning them as animals unworthy of life. You question it for a sec but 'Praise the Supreme Leader' comes on over the speakers so you jump again with your hand across the heart and join the rest of the group with Praise.


There is a non-paywalled story here. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fully-vaccinated-americans-r...

Neither the NYT nor ABC stories have links to the actual guidance, and I don't see anything about this on cdc.gov. I guess this was embargoed and the story was released before cdc got around to publishing the guidance.

Update: Guidance is now at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vac...


Thank you for noticing this.

This is a media blitz, and one may wonder why there are prepared, published stories about CDC guidance that hadn't yet even been published.

I'm sure there are many rational reasons for this. One, indeed, is particularly salient.


This is 100% normal. Press is informed under embargo to assure information goes out quickly and widely once the information is ready/ public. Nothing nefarious about it.


Why wouldn’t the CDC publish guidance once it is ready, which the media can than report on? The mere coordination (and normalcy thereof) is exactly why people view these policies (gatekeeping) as nefarious.


I can give you an example, if you want information to get out and spread quickly, do you 1. put it on your website and wait until people notice it and dissiminate it or 2. Let the main information "spreaders" know in advance so they can prepare articles (possibly do some interviews) etc? Which do you think reaches more people in a given time?


You post on your website, somebody notices, 'spreaders' race to get faulty quick copy out (better fast than right), gives the conspiracy theorists a headstart as people start looking for more detail.

Or you issue an embargoed release, allowing responsible 'spreaders' to get their ducks in a row, and then cometh the hour, cometh the copy-edited verbose well referenced pieces.

The latter is far better than the former.


This model gives government the power of choosing who is and is not a “trusted source” and depends on a relationship where those sources report uncritically about the information they are being given. It is also prioritizing which (for-profit) business gets favorable access.

From a practicality perspective it makes sense. From a propaganda perspective it’s chilling.


There is really nothing chilling about national media outlets getting a PR a few hours before the PR is made public. Promise.


I hope my thinking on this is overly pessimistic but I think wearing masks is going to be perhaps the biggest lightning rod in America for a while. It’s going to act as a proxy issue for many other sociopolitical and psychological issues that will be channeled into this conflict.

I think the perhaps the best advice is entirely cliche. We are going to need to respect other people’s choices and try to be as patient and kind as we can.


> It’s going to act as a proxy issue for many other sociopolitical and psychological issues that will be channeled into this conflict.

That's the key observation, I think. It's not about the mask, it's about something else entirely, and I don't know what that is. Where I live (Sweden), there is little of that tension, and so masks weren't needed.

> We are going to need to respect other people’s choices and try to be as patient and kind as we can.

You cannot just stand by what amounts to religious zeal. It will affect you one way or another.


The reason for the contention is because it is not simply one side wearing masks and the other side not. It is one side wearing masks and demanding the other side do as well.


I find it interesting that the people who screamed "trust/listen to the CDC!" the loudest when the CDC's position was "everyone wear your mask and stay home as much as you can" are now the ones looking hardest for reasons to ignore/downplay/criticize the CDC's guidance.


One must evaluate the consequences of not following a particular piece of advice.

If masks work, and you don’t wear one, you are potentially killing people and worsening the pandemic.

If they aren’t needed, and you do wear one anyways, no harm has been done.


> no harm has been done

This isn't the evaluation we're having though. If it was purely a personal choice to wear one or not then maybe. As it stands, most people were compelled by law to wear a mask under every circumstance whether it made sense or not. The argument quickly went from "wear a mask to protect yourself" to "everyone MUST wear a mask under every situation". It then split into two silly sides signally to their camps and a horrible political divide got much worse. Yeah, harm has been done.


> As it stands, most people were compelled by law to wear a mask under every circumstance whether it made sense or not.

The CDC's recommendations changed yesterday. It'll take a couple days for states to adjust accordingly.


Of course. I'm talking about the life we all had for over a year and some of the harm it did.


The subject of this HN thread is the CDC lifting the masking requirement, and some folks choosing individually to still wear them at times; an act that causes no one any harm.

A debate on mask mandates in general over the last year is probably off topic, but I'm inclined to see them as quite justifiable.


Fine, then the claim that "If masks work, and you don’t wear one, you are potentially killing people and worsening the pandemic." is off-topic and irrelevant since this is no longer true.


It is true if you aren't fully vaccinated.


I'm sorry, what was the harm of wearing a mask? Like, if the US and CDC said "hey, the flu sucks - face masks are mandatory in any public space during the 3 months of flu season", what's the cost there? Other than the cost of the mask of course.


It's not the mask that does harm. It's the temptation by authorities to make blanket mandates that can easily encroach too far in an effort to cover as many scenarios as possible for legal purposes. It's not a conspiracy theory, it's just in their best interests to make it as easy as possible to interpret and enforce. It's also not at all cut-and-dried what a "public space" is, so that's a bitter argument that will be had. There is a lot of public space that is wide-open and sparsely travelled. Does this need a mandatory mask mandate? If we were all perfectly rational this would not be that difficult, but we're not.

Given current and recent events in the U.S., it's also probably best not to give the police even more reason to be able to stop and question folks for what is a very minor infraction. With something like mask mandates, it's a highly visible signal that must be obeyed by every single person, so it's prone to enforcement abuse. In general, it's just not worth it to get flu numbers down, particularly when we weren't really scared as a society about the flu before now. As always, if you're sick stay home or even wear a mask out. Laws to enforce this? Not so much.


You've said that a fine-tuned mask mandate is too hard to write and enforce. You didn't address the underlying question of what the harm of a mask mandate is. Like, suppose I grant that it's difficult, and 80% of the time isn't needed. My question is then "and who cares?" My insurance isn't needed a far greater percentage of the time, nor is my wearing a seatbelt.

What I'm getting at is if it were just a permanent law like "wear a shirt (if female)" or "wear pants" what's the harm?


This is getting a bit silly here, but for starters, people wear clothes regardless of a law so that's not a good comparison. Also, to put it very bluntly, I don't think the number of lives saved is worth the social costs I've already enumerated.


Why not a mandate to wear 2 masks? Or a mandate that you should wear surgical gloves everywhere (non latex for the allergic of course)? Don’t you realize how many lives could be saved with these minor inconveniences? What’s the harm?

Why not a mandate to require wearing a jacket out in the winter? Not only could you injure yourself, but you put others at risk if they have drive through the harsh conditions to save you if frostbite gets you - and most wear their jacket out anyways when it’s so cold, so what’s the harm?

While we’re at it: perhaps we make owning too much alcohol illegal. Getting too drunk is widely considered best to avoid (it sucks to throw up!), so no harm done, and you wouldn’t be able to harm yourself or others with dangerous intoxication levels. No harm done right?

How about we just mandate washing hands after the bathroom - it’s pretty gross and think of all the sickness it causes, and there’s really no inconvenience with the sick right there and all. Where’s the harm?

These all lie on a spectrum. Why not ban cars? Why not require toothbrushing? Why not requiring people to take the vaccine (if it’s safe for their situation)? Why not require saying hello to people you pass on the right side of the sidewalk? Why not mandate snapping your fingers and doing jazz hands to get others attention when someone is about to step in gum? Why not mandate wearing your shirt inside out each Wednesday in order to slightly prolong the life of your clothing and thereby save planetary resources for future generations?

Just because something isn’t that inconvenient (by your standards nonetheless) doesn’t justify the state mandating it and implicitly enforcing it with the threat of imprisonment.

Should you go to jail for not wearing a mask for flu season? That’s why it shouldn’t be a mandate: because the state has not right to coerce people with the threat of violence for innane actions no matter how harmless the act may be.

If you don’t wear a mask for flu season (or any other regular disease we vaccinate against and is part of regular life), does the govt fine you? And if you don’t pay that fine presumably they take you to jail?

Should people go to jail for not wearing a mask for the flu? If not, then there shouldn’t be a mask mandate for it - even if you think there’s no harm.


Wearing a mask is a lot more onerous than wearing a seat belt, shirt, or pants.


> The argument quickly went from "wear a mask to protect yourself"

That was never the argument. Wearing masks isn't about protecting yourself (only properly-fitted high-grade masks do that well, and regular people wearing those would have taken supply away from medical staff). Wearing masks is about protecting other people from you spreading the virus (which they do a decent job of when combined with distancing).

The reason it can't just be a personal choice is because not wearing a mask isn't endangering you, it's endangering other people. It's the same reason we don't let people smoke indoors. And having a blanket rule to always wear a mask in public was mainly about keeping the messaging simple. Constant debating over which situations were safe or not for going maskless would have harmed our overall responnse to the virus. The reason the CDC changed their guidance is that there's now enough evidence to confidently say that vaccinated people can't spread the virus to others, but honestly it may potentially cause those same issues.


> That was never the argument.

Yes it was. It's easy to forget what the actual messaging was in the early days. Originally we were all talking about not using up medical masks or N95 masks, which were meant to "protect the wearer from contact with droplets and sprays that may contain germs."[1] Then we all switched to wearing these homemade masks and the messaging turned to wearing them was important to stop the spread to other people. And it had to be done in every single circumstance.

> Constant debating over which situations were safe or not for going maskless would have harmed our overall responnse to the virus.

That is legitimately up for debate. One could make a good case that a noble lie to the public does more harm because it erodes trust in the institution that fibbed in order to "keep it simple". Part of the reason we were in this mask controversy mess is because the authorities were saying one thing and scientist were saying other things in many cases. Not always, but in some cases.

[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/i...


I'm as pro-science (and progressive) as anyone, but under this logic you would have to wear a mask at all times for the rest of your life. This is just not reasonable. We have dealt with flus and other infections that kill people every year without feeling like we have a moral obligation to prophylactically wear a mask at all times, whether we feel sick or not. At some point the mandate needs to end.


https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27157672

I’m not proposing keeping the mandate.


> If they aren’t needed, and you do force other people to wear it

There, corrected your typo for you.


No, you entirely changed my point to construct a straw man.


> you are potentially killing people

No, you absolutely are not killing people. This is absurd alarmist propaganda designed to guilt people into acting a certain way.

> If they aren’t needed, and you do wear one anyways, no harm has been done.

This is a particularly insidious argument. First, you’re required to agree to your first point about killing people. Second, you’re required to agree that compelled mask wearing has no harm.

Neither of these statements are true.


Since this is oriented to the general public, one would assume that this information has already been factored in the announcement. i.e. that the CDC has published this guidance because now the evidence for the vaccinated population not needing masks in most places is overwhelming.


I'm saying that some people may still choose to go beyond what the CDC recommends, by continuing to wear a mask in some situations. This harms no one.


Because it's a publicly visible political statement and tribal signaling. What the MAGA hat was for the right, the mask is for the left.


It's crazy how politicised the mask has become in the States.

Over here in my parts of Eastern-Europe the government just announced yesterday that starting tomorrow (Saturday) the mask won't be mandatory anymore in almost all outdoor spaces for everyone, a statement which was received with joy and relief by almost everyone, no matter their political orientation.


Yup, as an American I agree with you. I'm also thrilled to see these new CDC guidelines. It's absolutely sickened me that refusal to wear a mask is seen as "patriotic" in some circles.


Ah, Romania. Though this country does seem to have one of the lowest vaccination rates.


It could be also Poland.


Respectfully, I think your suggestion is an exaggeration of reality.

There is perhaps a correlation between masks and political leaning, but there is also cross correlation between those things and higher education, age, race, urban residence, and other confounding variables.

Moreover, I think it's a greater signal to refuse to wear a mask. At least where I live, pretty much everyone goes along with the mask guidance despite a large Republican presence. So if you're simply wearing a mask, there's not much ground to assume anything about your political affiliations.


This is such a bullshit strawman. Most of my friends are family are very liberal. Most of them are already vaccinated. Not a single one of them wants to wear a mask unless absolutely necessary and everyone is ready for this to be over.


If they've been vaccinated and still insist on wearing the masks, I kinda think you're proving OP's point here. What do you even mean with "waiting for this to be over"? You're vaccinated, it's over, are you now waiting for a super-vaccine or something?


You are kind of proving my point by reading 'unless absolutely necessary' (meaning: they don't want to use a mask and they don't most of the time, except when there's a rule saying they should) as 'THEY TOTALLY WANT TO KEEP USING A MASK!!!'.


Some of us invested in nice masks, or enjoy not being told to smile. Not everything people do is with politics in mind.


I know people who had masks before the pandemic


lol. this is hilarious


On the other hand, I walked down the street last night without a mask and almost everyone I crossed paths with wasn't wearing one either.

This would have been unthinkable yesterday.


Really? That's wild to me. I haven't worn a mask outside since the pandemic began.


Suburbs and rural areas differ greatly from major cities in this regard.


I don't find it "interesting" at all that a particular group of people has decided to err on the side of caution in both cases. It's entirely consistent.

This is how critical thinking works. If an organization advises something you think might be risky, you question it, and maybe don't do the potentially-risky thing until you have more information. But if an organization advises you to do something they claim reduces risk, you go ahead and do it. If information later comes out that this risk-reducing thing wasn't useful, then you stop doing it; you haven't lost anything by trying it.

Regardless, we've all seen what happens in places where restrictions were lifted earlier than they should have been. Being cautious is the right move.

As for myself, I'll be fully protected by the vaccine in about two weeks. I'll likely continue wearing a mask in public in order to help others around me feel more comfortable (because they have no idea if I've been vaccinated or not), but among people I know, I'll take the mask off. Once the vaccination rate is high enough around here, I'll leave it off in public, too, assuming state/local mandates allow it.


> If an organization advises something you think might be risky, you question it

My point is that last year, the party line was "the CDC is above questioning."

> If information later comes out that this risk-reducing thing wasn't useful, then you stop doing it; you haven't lost anything by trying it.

Pretty much every COVID mitigation has some negative effect, so I don't think "you haven't lost anything" is accurate.


I think most probably have a more nuanced position than that.

My personal hesitation is that people are just going to ignore the explicit condition of full vaccination. Worst case outcome could result in dragging the pandemic out and providing opportunity for new variants to develop.

A concern closer to home is that this will increase risk for my parents, who have been hesitant about the mRNA vaccines and refuse J&J because is produced using a fetal cell line.


Not sure why the rest of us should be required to continue to change our lives because of your parents (unfortunately) unfounded, anti-scientific personal views?


That’s fair, my point is just that it’s a valid source of anxiety.

And it’s not just my own parents. Like 30% of the US seems like they are not going to get a vaccine any time soon, and I worry that the guidance critically depends on the assumption that unvaccinated people will still mask up and distance. I don’t think it’s a very good assumption (would love to be proven wrong), and I don’t know what that means for the public health outlook of this new guidance.


Ideas are easy to be against. Right now, covid is just an idea to a lot of people. They don't know anyone who's gotten sick, or worse. It's harder to be against a person. Once a few people in their social circles get the vaccine and live to tell the tale, the hesitance will fall away. Polls are a snapshot and can turn quickly. That's why pollsters keep repeating them.


Your parents are making their own tradeoffs. People need to accept responsibility for the tradeoffs they choose.


Yes, I agree.

The point is, how much does this new public health guidance depend on the assumption that people will accept the responsibility to either mask up or get vaccinated?


The folks who won't do either have likely been doing that for the last year and would thus be already factored in to any case/infection numbers they're evaluating.


I'm not sure the cause of their concern with the J&J being produced with a fetal cell line, but the Catholic Church has some fairly vocal guidance on why the J&J vaccine is acceptable that address this.

Also, for the mRNA vaccine, you may want to emphasize that this is the result of several decades of research, not a one-year crash program in new technology.


> the Catholic Church has some fairly vocal guidance on why the J&J vaccine is acceptable

The Catholic Church's position is that the J&J vaccine is acceptable if it's the only vaccine you can get, but you should not get it if any of the other vaccines are available to you. Your comment makes it sound like they consider it acceptable unconditionally, which isn't the case.


I didn't mean to misrepresent the Catholic Church's position.

I have no idea if that helps the poster's parents decide to get vaccinated, but it's very clear that the Pope wants them to take the J&J shot if they don't have an alternative. And they currently don't have one they will accept.

None of the other vaccines are available to the poster's parents (held up mRNA technology fear, even though they are available via distribution), so the Church's logic should still hold


There's a big difference between "don't have an alternative" and "don't have one they will accept." I don't think the Church means that it's okay to take J&J just because you don't like the others.


Please tell your parents the truth, that the J&J vaccine is not produced using a fetal cell line.


Thanks, but I don’t think that’s actually accurate. AIUI, J&J grow their adenovirus vector using the cell line PERC.C6.

This is a super emotional topic for a lot of people, so it doesn’t really make a difference for them that there are no PERC.C6 cells in the actual vaccine, or that the cell line is from the 80s, or any of that. I can at least understand this hesitancy, unlike the misinformation-fueled notion that the mRNA vaccines will change your DNA or something.

https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-johnson-aborted-id...

https://www.janssen.com/emea/emea/janssen-vaccine-technologi...


They are just "following the science" (when it suits them).


It’s good to give better incentives for people to be vaccinated, as many have urged for some time.

I worry this carrot isn’t tied to an adequate stick - the unvaccinated can simply go without a mask regardless of their status. Will this move actually counter our slowing vaccination rates?


For what it's (not) worth, it prompted me to sign up today. :)


> For what it's (not) worth, it prompted me to sign up today. :)

More for my understanding than anything else, and with every guarantee that I won't present any follow-up questions or statements, but why was this the tipping point and not the actual disease risk mitigation resulting from the vaccine?


Bleh, i'm 25, healthy, and more than all, lazy. But if it means I can take my mask off and be honest. I'm down.


Thanks, and thanks for getting it. :)


Not me, but a coworker of mine is the only guy in my office who hasn't been vaccinated (rest of us got second dose at end of January) because of adverse reactions to past (milder) vaccinations. He correctly assesses that he's in a very low risk environment, but at some point he'll probably risk the vaccine to not have pariah status.

But for the last 3 months, there was nothing to make the tradeoff worthwhile to him.


Glad that he didn’t value not being a disease vector which could spread the virus to someone who may be at risk. Vaccines work when most of society get vaccinated, it only requires a small minority of egos to make a forgotten disease rear its ugly head again.


It was the first clear sign that the CDC is confident in the vaccine.


My guess: GP is young and healthy, so the chance of significant harm from COVID is nearly zero, and the vaccines for COVID have significantly worse side effects than pretty much any other vaccines given today. Thus, until today, it was a high-risk low-reward proposition.


More or less spot on, but add a whole boat load of laziness to the equation.


The risk and severity of bad effects from COVID exceed the risks and severity of the bad effects from the vaccine across all age categories.

It is a low-risk, higher-reward proposition for everyone.

And even if all the virus does is fry your sense of smell you're better off with a few days of influenza-like symptoms from the vaccines.


Anecdotally, dozens of people in my social circle (aged 30-50) reported that the worst vaccine side effects were (1) a sore arm and (2) 24-48 hours of sleepy brain fog (even after the second dose). Among first and second degree connections on Facebook, I know of exactly two people who experienced the full gamut of flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, and whole-body aches for a day or two. Take this with a grain of salt, but I'd estimate an upper bound of 10% for "moderately unpleasant" side effects among young-ish, moderately healthy individuals.


Anecdotally, dozens of people in my social circle (aged 25-45 or so reported severe side effects, including at least three or four of sore arm, fever, chills, headaches, exhaustion, body aches, nausea, and brain fog. My girlfriend and I had five of them, for an entire day.

I'm not sure if your group's experience or mine is more typical. That's why comprehensive data is required to sort things out, and limited-number anecdotes are useless.


People with more robust immune systems (young people often) experience higher side effects from vaccination.


Basically none of which rises to the point of hospitalization and is gone in a few days.

The risk of hospitalization among even 18-29 year olds is not negligible. Neither is the risk of permanent side effects like diabetes. Those autoimmune conditions can and do strike even perfectly healthy individuals.

It is weird how the vaccine is probably 1000x safer than getting the virus, but young people in particular are happy with the idea that "that won't happen to me, I'm healthy and young" when it comes to the virus, while they're deeply concerned about vaccine side effects that really aren't concerning at all.

(And BTW "robust immune system" doesn't help you if your own immune system turns on you due to the virus).


You can't just weigh "The risk and severity of bad effects from COVID" with "the risks and severity of the bad effects from the vaccine". You also need to factor in that the probability of an unvaccinated person getting COVID isn't 100%.


The likelihood of the virus becoming endemic is very high which pushes the probability much closer to 100% for everyone.


About 10-30% of Americans got COVID-19 so far, depending on how you tally the numbers. Of those, approximately 8% can be expected to experience long-term effects that disrupt their daily lives: https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/91270

>About 8% of all participants said at least one activity of daily living suffered long-term consequences, most commonly household chores.

That puts the net risk for non-vaccinated people at no less than 0.8%.

By contrast, the incidence of blood clots from the AstraZeneca vaccine, which caused its ouster, was about 0.001%. That's a factor of 800 in favor of vaccination with the worst of the vaccines.


And how do you measure the mid to long term risk of a novel mRNA technology which is effectively in trial now, under emergency approval, when vaccines typically take years of safety evaluations? Particularly considering that there are preprints out with a mechanism identified for reverse transcription of the spike producing mRNA, which could result in chronic inflammatory disease in some proportion of recipients, given that other preprints claim that the spike protein itself is a general inflammatory agent and may be responsible for clotting/vascular symptoms.

Note that reverse transcription of COVID RNA also is a convenient explanation for post symptomatic positive tests as well as long COVID symptoms.

I think it's irresponsible to downplay the risks associated with this novel technology, especially when people still have the option of continuing to socially isolate to some degree.


>Particularly considering that there are preprints out with a mechanism identified for reverse transcription of the spike producing mRNA, which could result in chronic inflammatory disease in some proportion of recipients

This doesn't make sense because the mRNA-based spike protein, unlike the natural spike protein, is specifically tuned to annoy the immune system. Any cells incorporating the vaccine mRNA into their DNA will be summarily executed for the very same reason that the vaccine works as a vaccine in the first place: it's an antigen.

>I think it's irresponsible to downplay the risks associated with this novel technology

What's irresponsible is couch-quarterbacking the epidemiological community and the medical authorities of ~every developed country in the world, based on preprints, in the face of a pandemic that has claimed ~10M lives globally.


Vaccines either cause side effects in ~3 months or they don't. They could conceivably trigger long-term autoimmune conditions but they don't hide for years.

And we have a long track record of understanding this because viruses and vaccine cause the same kinds of autoimmune conditions. I had viral pericarditis once from a common cold that struck a month or two after I got over it. We've got hundreds of years of experience with it.

The issue with vaccines taking a long time to get approval is development time and efficacy data. Both of those were able to be done quickly due to the massive pandemic and due to the 10 years of preparatory work done on SARS-CoV-1 and mRNA vaccines.

And your interpretation of the reverse transcription article is just bullshit misinformation.

And you're still not escaping from being exposed to SARS-CoV-1 mRNA, it'll become endemic. You're getting it from the virus or the vaccine, there's not really going to be any skipping out.

(And if the LINE-1 results are correct this is how we pick up genetic material from all kinds of RNA viruses, our genome is littered with historical pandemics).


> The issue with vaccines taking a long time to get approval is development time and efficacy data. Both of those were able to be done quickly due to the massive pandemic and due to the 10 years of preparatory work done on SARS-CoV-1 and mRNA vaccines.

Not only that, but Operation Warp Speed (hate the name, but have to give it some credit) removed bureaucratic hurdles that allowed many of the normal steps to be done in parallel rather than serially. That doesn't mean that those steps were rushed or done in an unsafe manner.


Those numbers don't factor in age or preexisting conditions at all.


The safety factor is 800. Preexisting conditions and age aren't going to change the conclusion.


Newer variants are hitting young people harder. COVID is getting more dangerous to that group. Plus, as other posters have said, the vaccine is extremely safe.


Interesting, as someone who got vaccinated the first day it was available to all adults in Utah(3/24), I'm surprised that this news changed any ones mind. But either way I'm glad it did!.


It seems pretty logical to me.

Every decision is a risk/reward calculation.

The vaccine does carry the risk of side effects and adverse reactions. That risk, for most, is VERY small.

But if the person in question also has very low risk of contracting or spreading Covid (works from home, rarely goes out, young, healthy) and if being vaccinated doesn’t actually enable you to live any differently than you already are, then there’s no compelling reason to get vaccinated and assume the risk of side effects, no matter how small.


The logical decision here involves civic duty. I certainly fit into the low risk category, etc., but I also exist in society and am a willing participant, and as such have certain responsibilities to other people in my community.


As an American, I can tell you that most Americans aren't big on civic duty. And when we are, it's mostly limited to getting out to vote and not complaining too much when selected for jury duty.

American individualism also tends to downplay a person's responsibility to anyone outside their family, which some even restrict to their immediate nuclear family.

It's a shame, and I think it's one of our biggest failings as a culture. Ironically this is one of the few things where the American left and right are fairly on the same page, even if most won't admit it.

(I'm painting a pretty dire picture here, but it really isn't that bad. Communities exist everywhere, and people who care about others exist everywhere. It just seems like when the chips are down, people tend to turn inward rather than outward.)


It does... but again, if being vaccinated means that you still have to do all the other things that are done to limit the spread, then you are perceivably ALREADY doing your civic duty when you go out by masking up, distancing, and otherwise staying home.

Also, if vaccination doesn’t change the risk enough for you to drop some of the other precautions, that also lowers the perceived value of the efficacy of the vaccine as well.


vaccination is probably the most broadly effective, but there are many ways, big and small, to limit the risks of transmission, so don't fall for the fascist line of thinking that there is only one true way, especially when an understanding of the risks (airborne is highly unlikely) and effectiveness of the various mitigations (no, you never needed masks outside unless tightly packed for extended time) is so woefully lacking.

and civic duty is voting, educating yourself on policy issues, obeying reasonable laws, and tolerating and even celebrating differences of perspective and opinion. it's about participating effectively in our democratic republic. it doesn't encompass every possible responsibility to every other human, like the term 'moral duty' might.


I don’t understand this. Does the hypothetical low risk person hypothetically work from home and rarely go out.. forever? If no, when/what is the trigger that changes this behavior?


If going out means the hassle of wearing a mask, staying distanced, and all the other rules, then, yes.

Put another way, if going out feels like a big hassle, and getting vaccinated doesn’t remove enough of the rules to make going out NOT feel like a hassle, then there’s no reason to change one’s “going out” habits. And if there’s no incentive to change one’s “going out” habits, then there’s no reason to go through any process or procedure that only perceivably benefits you if you leave home.

I will be getting my vaccine soon myself.

But the world has changed. If I was isolated and nervous to “put myself out there” pre-pandemic, then I’m nearly agoraphobic now.

Nobody I work with wants to return to the office, nobody wants to return to having fun outings (at least not outside their own social circle).

There’s literally nothing for me to return to doing. I’ve built up a relatively solitary life with my dad in the last 12+ months, and everything outside of it is gone.

If you feel that you have so much to return to that the idea of rarely going out, forever, sounds unrealistic, then I would consider yourself lucky.

I intend to get vaccinated just to be safe to anyone I might come in contact with, but to your point, even once I get vaccinated, I honestly see no trigger to change my behavior. I highly doubt I’m alone in this.


I would prefer to wear a mask at the grocery store, but not at work when physically on-site. I'm low risk, and don't really have any desire to go out and get vaccinated mostly because I'm lazy, don't like needles, antisocial, and generally anxious in public.

I don't really ever go out willingly, so I didn't really have an incentive to get vaccinated. Now I can get vaccinated and not wear a mask at work when it's 100+F in a few months.

Now that it's socially acceptable to wear a mask when in businesses and isn't a fashion trend, I will continue to do it since it should impede facial recognition. Except if it's a bit hot, I now can choose not to :)

I think this will be a great incentive to drive vaccination rates.


I'm really glad that you're going to get vaccinated!

But the thing that really bothers me about your previous rationale is that it doesn't take anyone else into account. What about people who would like to get vaccinated, but can't because they're deathly allergic to components of the vaccine (or some other medical reason)? What about people who would like to get vaccinated but can't afford to take time off work for the shot, or to rest during possible side effects?

You getting vaccinated protects those people too, when you walk past them in that grocery store. They deserve to be out and about without fear of infection just as much as you or I do.


Totally, at the store there's definitely other people to take into account as well as at work. I don't think about other people much in my daily life, so it's easy for me to fall into that (false) mentality of being unlikely to have any meaningful impact by not getting vaccinated.


If you were in a very low risk group, I can see delaying taking the vaccine to avoid blocking a higher risk person. Absent that I truly don't understand declining any of the vaccines for COVID. The risk of serious side effects is negligible. Meanwhile, every day you are alive you move into a higher risk group both for COVID and for longer recovery of mild side effects. So why wait?


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I waited a couple weeks after it was open to everyone here. I waited because the only available vaccines were multiple hours away. I wasn’t going to make that trip twice (and potentially find out they screwed up their count or ruined doses or something) when I could wait a couple weeks and get one in my own town. Doubly so since I have less contact with strangers than most.


I was in a similar boat, but I went ahead and drove the couple hours out for the first shot...and then as supply opened up closer to me, scheduled my second 5 miles away. Totally understand the motivation to wait though; my wife got in due to some health stuff, and so there was more pressure for me to just hurry up and get it.


That makes sense. I too waited some extra time for supply to be available in my own area, rather than traveling and taking from others' allocations.

But I'm surprised that the "you can go maskless if you get the vaccine" is a deciding factor for anyone. Wearing a dust mask is so trivial compared to all the other changes and efforts I've made this year.


It’s one of the most personal and symbolic gestures of hope for a return to normalcy. I think its power there exceeds the actual inconvenience.


For me: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/16/covid-vaccine-side-effects-c...

When this changes or it's been a year I'll consider it.


I traveled a bit during this pandemic and in Arizona it’s like the virus didn’t exist. Nobody was wearing a mask, nobody. Even indoor. Even the waiters.

I’m back in SF now and everybody is wearing the mask. Everybody. The adults, the children, Even the vaccinated people. Yesterday the waiter asked me if we could put back our mask so she could hand us our plate.

Country of extremes. I feel like there’s no going back to normal eventhough I’m fully vaccinated.


I'm curious where in Arizona. Cities have been hit hardest because of population density and interactions, so it's somewhat more reasonable for cities to be more concerned.

> the waiter asked me if we could put back our mask so she could hand us our plate

I get the feeling behind this, but it's also silly. Either you're outdoors and the risk is already pretty low, or you're indoors, and 30s of exposure won't be a big deal, especially when it's not like everyone is wearing N95 respirators and aerosols are a bigger concern than we used to think.


In TX people often, say ~25%, ignored mask mandates inside stores. When the mandate lifted it went to more like ~10%. I get it, I'm a contrarían, but it was surprising that once it wasn't required to be thoughtful, people were.


Benefit of asking nicely instead of demanding. Texas folks are (anecdotally) very resistive to authority.


Was in Florida in March. Few masks anywhere. Almost none at bars and restaurants. It was nice to experience "normal" again. Some retail stores had "please wear a mask" signs up and I'd say the shoppers were about 70% compliant.


We had a lady on Nextdoor lauding her ability to go outside without a mask and being able to smile at a friend from afar now that she’s vaccinated. Masks haven’t been required outside when social distancing for most of the pandemic, vaccinated or not. There’s reasons for wearing masks (or not), but the decision to wear one (or not) typically has nothing to do with reason.


> There’s reasons for wearing masks (or not), but the decision to wear one (or not) typically has nothing to do with reason.

It spreads so poorly outdoors (this has been abundantly documented), especially if your exposure to someone is brief, that the main reason is a combination of virtue signaling, hygiene theater, and because it makes you feel safer.


> that the main reason is a combination of virtue signaling, hygiene theater, and because it makes you feel safer.

Or, because you feel it's a conservative decision which is respectful of others. I'm not worried about incidental exposure from passing someone on the sidewalk, but I can only make that decision for myself, so I either mask up or get out of the way.

Etiquette is a rational enough reason.


At some point you're going to have to draw the line, though. At what point is it etiquette, and at what point is it indulging paranoia? That line might not be today, but it exists.


Sure, and that's exactly the point: that line is not today.


I live here and I see the vast majority of people wearing masks.


From what I hear, the Bay Area seems especially mask-wearing at this point. I live in the well known Trump bastion of Massachusetts </s> and, while I don't know what things are like in Boston proper, an hour west where I live, essentially no one is wearing masks at this point on hiking trails and the like. People may do the theater of pulling up a bandana for a few seconds to pass but that's mostly it. (People are still mostly wearing inside though.)


Do you think that the CDC gives guidance based on incentives instead of best health interest?

Personally they lost my trust when they told us to not wear masks for some time early in the pandemic.


I believe that guidance was based upon a prioritization necessity to make sure that medical first responders had access to PPE. Once the supply of PPE was great enough the guidance was also changed


The problem is they didn't say "masks work but please save them for first responders until we get more." They said "masks don't work." You can argue they may have had a good reason to lie, but you can't argue that they didn't lie.


Medical specialists were concerned about incorrect usage of masks, which may increase risks of infection. Later studies contradicted those fears somewhat.


There was absolutely no evidence whatsoever that “improper wearing” could spread infection.

The problem is natural human bias to require higher levels of evidence to refute a practice than were required to institute it.


They never said that "masks don't work", you'll find that they instead said "There is no evidence that masks work" as there wasn't yet evidence at the time. It was correct, but a poor way to communicate the situation.


There was no change in the evidence on masks between March and April of 2020. This is retconning the CDC’s incompetent messaging.


So wearing a mask as a punishment? That will further trust in public health policies.


Unvaccinated should wear mask, because they are more likely to spread it. Vaccinated dont have to wear mask, because they are less likely to spread it.

Making masks into that big punishment and unfairness definitely killed my trust into whole lot of people and groups of people.


It’s mostly just accepting reality and gives states an alibi out of their partisan pandemic response

Like, on one end you have states waiting for an impossibly high threshold of vaccination before masks go away or nightclubs open up with dance floors. And now they can say “oh ok that was old guidance, we’re good now”

On the other hand it also caters to the states that ignored old guidance “ah! Sanity has prevailed! Now can these few businesses that demand masks stop fighting us on this?”


Ohio is holding five million-dollar lottery drawings for which only vaccinated people are eligible, and I expect other states to follow suit: https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/0...


West Virginia is offering up cash, too, as are some cities. Seems to work.

https://www.wiscnews.com/news/national/a-million-dollars-in-...


I sincerely hope the trend of tying very personal, individual healthcare decisions with what is essentially gambling, NEVER spreads beyond the COVID vaccine.

I don’t know of many other ways to cheapen the significance of one’s own healthcare or the science that drives it than something like this.


I'm sure somebody will want to create vaccine coins, where the crypto currency are mined by people getting vaccinated, or walked their 1k steps for the day and what have you


Hah, that's a cool idea


It's genius. US should do a federal one.

I liked the idea of paying people to get vaccinated [1], but since that encountered public opposition, this is the next best thing.

[1] https://www.npr.org/2021/01/13/955594105/should-the-governme...


I think if the feds offered $100 to get vaccinated that uptake would go way up.


Or it could give people who are already suspect of government more reason to avoid the vaccine.

A stranger on the sidewalk is giving away free cookies. If in addition they offer $100 to each person who eats one, does that make me more, or less likely to accept a cookie?


Poor analogy. The public at large has a vested interest in high vaccination rates.


I don't think the public's interest is in question here (well, at least not in this particular argument).

I think the point is about how much you trust the person handing out the cookies/vaccine and money. There are plenty of people who trust the government about as much (or less) than a random stranger.


Yes, but the important thing is that the vaccine is available. They chose not to take it. The argument that we need to keep each other safe no longer holds.


Keep in mind there are some who genuinely can't get it, for one medical reason or another. We still need to keep them safe.


There are very few people who can't tolerate the RNA-based coronavirus vaccines. For severely immuno-compromised people, the vaccines may not be effective.[1] People who are going to have their immune systems suppressed for a transplant apparently present some problems, but can be vaccinated before the transplant or weeks afterward.

That's a nice feature of the RNA-based vaccines.

[1] https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/coronavirus-disea...


Keep in mind that that’s not gonna happen.

Unless the President said that, your message is not going to get across.

848 Americans died today marked as a Covid contributed death. There were lockdowns across 90% of the country a year ago when less people were dying from this. So we’re just past that, sorry. Good luck to them.

The goal was just to keep ICU capacity available for the normal distribution of emergencies in society. We’ve done that.


You cannot compare death and infection numbers with those of a year ago when zero people were vaccinated and the vaccine was still months away.


Whatever you are saying is just reinforcing my point?

It means we’ve all been reduced to statistics for 15 months and we have now simply reverted to a mean where the world is not compatible with immunocompromised people and good luck to them, just like before Covid, and just like during and after Covid. They had a 15 month time period where people and the state would help reduce exposure to them, and that was the luckiest time for them to be immunocompromised and thats over now.


This right here is the argument, and has been since February 2020. We got a little lost along the way, but our original social measures to reduce the spread of COVID was due to our inability to protect those who couldn't protect themselves. Now that we have the vaccines, we have no moral reason to now baby the people who refuse to protect themselves.


Children can't get vaccinated yet, though, and I do still want to protect them. It's why my wife and I, though fully vaccinated, haven't totally returned to normal, since our toddler and infant are still susceptible.


On an objective basis, the risk to children is in line with colds and flu.

Which isn't zero, colds and flu kill a few children a year.

I support you in keeping your children healthy, not trying to second guess you as a parent. But "think of the children" is not a good basis for policy here.


For children, COVID is less dangerous than the seasonal flu, and we've never mandated masks or vaccines to protect children from that.


Source for this??


https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/flu-vs-covid19.htm

> The risk of complications for healthy children is higher for flu compared to COVID-19.


Kind of amazing people are still so unaware of the vastly varying relative risk among different demographic groups


Good point! And I don't want to imply that the only people left without a vaccine are those who "refuse" it. We're not there yet, but were close! Stay safe!

(what in the world is going on with downvotes in this thread? Are HNers really unable to have difficult conversations?)


Kids are more likely to die in the car/bus on the way to school than by covid. Still it's good to get them vaccinated so they don't end up killing older people.


Forcing children (or anyone really) to undergo a medical procedure for the benefit of other people is evil.


Children grow into adults. We're protecting those future adults.


Against what, a pandemic that's over by then? For more than a year, children's interests have been largely ignored, their well-being and education sacrificed for the sake of scared adults. Now we start vaccinating them, which doesn't actually benefit them but does benefit aforementioned adults, to protect them just in case they catch Covid after the pandemic is over, but not until they're old enough that this is actually a problem? Because they're suddenly that important to us? I don't buy it.


What makes you think the pandemic is over?

New variants are still emerging, and some of them are pretty worrying. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/...


You didn't even finish reading my first sentence.


What the fuck? You're aware that we vaccinate children for a lot of things, right?

It's not evil, it's common sense. COVID may be the first pandemic you've lived through/remembered, but it's not the first pandemic, and there are far more dangerous diseases out there we don't want coming back.

I was vaccinated as a child of things i am still immune to today.


> You're aware that we vaccinate children for a lot of things, right?

Yes. So they don't get sick, i.e. it's for their own benefit.


We also vaccinate them so they don't infect people who can't be vaccinated.


If their own health wouldn't justify a vaccination, we should stop that. They can still consent to get vaccinated out of altruism when they're adult.


Thankfully, you don't make health policy. Stay away from legislation.


Insurance might not cover some vaccinations for an adult. I know for certain this is the case for HPV; it may also be true for others.


I understand wanting to protect your kids, but here’s some statistics (United States): on average, 500 kids a year die from RSV, a respiratory virus for which there is no vaccine. Last year, 200 kids died from COVID-19, for which a seemingly safe and effective vaccine exists. I understand this probably doesn’t help much since you don’t hear and think about RSV every day for a year straight, but hopefully the vaccines are approved for children soon. Hang in there :)


As long as we still bend the curve to not overwhelm the hospital system. Even vaccinated, I may need an ICU bed from a car accident or a heart attack.

I wish there was data on fully vaccinated people being able to spread infection to others, but that won't be available for a long time.


> I wish there was data on fully vaccinated people being able to spread infection to others, but that won't be available for a long time.

There is such data. That data is what led the CDC to make this change.


Really hoping that the majority of those that haven't been vaccinated are just lazy and not scared of the vaccine. Hopefully this is enough of a carrot, but also hope this doesn't embolden those that haven't been vaccinated and don't plan on it from going mask-less in public when they previously were wearing masks.


In WA it only recently opened up to all, and even those with early access may still be working on a full course. I just finished my full course because I had early access due to volunteer work. So we're not quite through those who are choosing not to take it here. Soon tho it will be all down to choice here.


Oh, good to know.. guess I assumed that because I've heard there's more vaccines than people that want to take them in the valley that it'd be like that in most other places.


That assumes that the vaccine is 100% effective, and that everyone who is at risk can safely take the vaccine. Neither of those are true.


Pfizer and Moderna are both effective to within the mid-high 90's, was my understanding.


the thing that scares me is that Pfizer is "only" ~75% against B.1.351. I'm not worried right now, and I've relaxed a ton since before, but I'm nervous that B.1.351 and other vaccine-resistant strains will rise to prominence once enough people are vaccinated.


Wait, Pfizer is only ~75% effective against B.1.351? Can you provide a source. I was not aware of that and it's worrisome.


https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2104974

"The effectiveness against any documented infection with the B.1.351 variant was 75.0% (95% CI, 70.5 to 78.9). Vaccine effectiveness against severe, critical, or fatal disease due to infection with any SARS-CoV-2 (with the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants being predominant within Qatar) was very high, at 97.4% (95% CI, 92.2 to 99.5). Sensitivity analyses confirmed these results (Table S3)."

so it's still quite effective at preventing severe illness, which is why I'm not terribly worried, but still spooky that strains are starting to mutate away from our protection.


And so we will synth a new one in a 2 weeks, just like the last one. The important thing is that we have a cold supply distribution chain, readily available production for mRNA synthesis, and emergency authorizations, which will become regular vax authorizations when it is shown to be a new cutting edge technique and a new golden age in fighting viral infections. Go, go ASAP. Get it. It won’t be your last. But it might be the last of viral cancers, covs, hiv…


The US is solving that by not getting enough people vaccinated :/


Neither of them need to be true for a critical mass of vaccinated people to demand for restrictions to be rescinded. Eventually politicians will realize they need to get re-elected and cave to pressure. It will happen, especially with this new guidance from the CDC. I would bet there are no state wide mask mandates by Jan 1, 2022.

Edit: Minnesota will be ending their mask mandate tomorrow.


I'll be surprised if there are any state wide mandates on July 31


I cant wait for the businesses that demand masks to be disconnected from the ability to operate by market pressures

Most brick and mortar was barely viable during the best market in history so all we gotta do is wait! And also not go to them lol have fun with that gofundme


So you are salivating at the idea that businesses that cared for their employees' safety go under just because you disagree with them politically.

Very nice.


Disagreed politically? I’m talking about major markets like California opening up, not whatever happens already in Georgia or Florida. So I think these more risk averse jurisdictions will also have a few businesses that try to maintain independent restrictions without support from the state, and I think they will have lost tolerance from their entire population or market base by then (a few weeks from now). This is not political, as the Federal government and the state government will be of the same political leaning. Nice try though.


I think the parent's main objection is that you seem to be showing glee at the prospect of a business failing because it shows an overabundance of caution even after the state no longer requires it. That's... kinda petty, no? Especially when wearing a mask inside a store or whatever isn't a particularly difficult thing to do.


Not parent but although i disagree with them, i kinda get where they're coming from.

Some businesses give in to security theater and it is immensely frustrating. For example here in Belgium some shops force you to take a trolley even if you just want to buy a single item and have your own bag. They do this "because COVID". So what happens? A pile up of people at the entrance trying to move caddies over, leading to far more risk there than there otherwise would be if you left people to their own device.

Our swimming pools are open, but they closed the showers "because COVID". So what happens? People are gross, get in the water right away, don't soap up or whatever, and it's far less clean/healthy than it would be for no good reason.

Overabundance of caution is not always a good excuse.


I have no idea what happens in Belgium, but nothing like that happens here in the US. They barely ask people to wear a goddamn mask, and they are all up in arms about it.


Have witnessed Chipotle’s staff scream at a construction worker because he was using a tshirt as a face covering.

“That’s not approved!! Get out of here!”

Different things are happening


So, nothing like Belgium then, and exactly what I described: people being asked to wear a mask and not doing it.

I don’t know the circumstances of the situation you mention, but it hardly qualifies as security theatre. Also, I doubt they screamed ‘not approved’ but I guess no anti-mask narrative sounds dire enough without a little exaggeration.


You're replying to someone else than me. I'm not sure why they brought this up either


Oh, I knew. I was just pointing out that even in the scenario he described it didn't even approximate to what you describe as happening in Belgium (which to be clear, I completely believe).


I’m fine with a business underperforming when it’s due to an over-abundance of any type of decision making. Too large salaries, expand too quickly, charge too much, charge too little, ask too much of customers, whatever it is, I hope businesses which make better decisions do better.


I am expressing glee at the accelerated failure of barely viable businesses.

Its 100% Machiavellian.

Many businesses could have made their patrons equity owners but instead went for the gofundme as nondilutive capital. Many bad tastes in my mouth, so long and goodnight. Evictions restarting soon too.


This carrot will lead to reopen the office and commute.

Good lord. It is almost like they want to discourage people to not get vaccinated.


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What do they deserve?


Don't feed the troll.


where exactly incentives end and discrimination starts? it's very narrow line

I think people should take care about their own health, if you are in risk group get vaccinated, if you are not in risk group what's the point urging someone to get vaccinated if risk groups are vaccinated or are ready to bear risks?


Some people in high-risk groups are not vaccinated, mostly due to allergies or other medical conditions.

Low-risk people can still become infected, never show symptoms, and pass the virus to someone else without realizing it. Risking that happening while a vaccine is available is just irresponsible and selfish.

Throughout this pandemic, my biggest fear was not getting COVID myself, but unwittingly giving it to someone vulnerable who then died.


Mutations and variants.


> I worry this carrot isn’t tied to an adequate stick

If most of the new cases start to be among the unvaccinated, that could make for a stick.


I just watched the most recent Last Week Tonight, and there was a clip of a man whose mother refused the vaccine, caught COVID, and is now in the ICU on a ventilator. He was asked if he was going to get vaccinated, and he said he still wasn't sure.

I really wish that stick worked, but it seems like it won't, at least not universally. But presumably there are some people for whom it will work, if one of their loved ones gets infected and ends up in a bad way.


> the unvaccinated can simply go without a mask regardless of their status.

Oh, the humanity.


This isn’t a carrot, its public health guidance based in risks and infection rates (including the induced risk of noncompliance by the unvaccinated triggered by loosening rules for the vaccinated.)

> Will this move actually counter our slowing vaccination rates?

Yes, loosening controls does that. It also reduces the harms imposed by the controls. Vaccination and infection affect the cost/benefit analysis between those effects.


The problem is also the social pressure that this will add on other people by the anti-mask who are going to say "Why are you wearing a mask ? Nobody is going to check anyway, just say you are vaccinated, pfff..."


States will begin rescinding their mask mandates soon, if they calculate their health care system can handle an outbreak among the remaining unvaccinated. Minnesota is rescinding their mask mandate once 70% of adults have had their first shot, or July 1.

Edit: MN mask mandate goes away tomorrow.

If you’re vaccinated along with a decent majority of people, why would you want to wear a mask? The vaccines have been overwhelmingly good so far at preventing hospitalization and death, they’re more effective than influenza vaccines.


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