Virus Expert Shares a Date That Could Mean the End
The CDC says vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask indoors or outdoors in most situations, but when will the risk of COVID-19 be so low, you don't have to worry so much? Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, spoke with John Dickerson on Face the Nation and laid out a timeline, while also saying who's getting COVID now (the virus is still raging in some parts), how we have to protect ourselves and more. Read on for his 5 essential pieces of life-saving advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these 98 Symptoms of COVID You Can Feel Even After Vaccination.
Virus Expert Says Here's Who's Getting COVID Now
Dr. Gottlieb said there's "a rapidly declining overall vulnerability of the US population. I think we're still seeing a lot of cases per day, about 20,000 cases per day yesterday, and cases may not fall much below 10,000 because we're doing a lot of testing around the country. But the bottom line is that the people who are getting infected now tend to be people who are younger or less vulnerable to the infection because a lot of the vulnerable population has been vaccinated. About 85% of those above the age of 65 have now been vaccinated. So the people most likely to get into trouble with COVID have now been protected through vaccination. And you're seeing a rapidly declining rate of new hospitalizations as a consequence of that fact."
Virus Expert Said This Next Stage of the Pandemic, We Have to "Protect Ourselves"
What will this next stage of the pandemic look like, in terms of how we know how to be safe? "It's an environment right now where we're not going to rely necessarily on public health ordinances and mandates from governors and mayors to protect us, but we're going to have to protect ourselves based on our own assessment of our risk and our own comfort," said Gottlieb. "And so if you're unvaccinated, you're going to be at higher risk. If you're in a high prevalence area where there's still a lot of infection, you're going to be at higher risk. If you have a pre-existing medical condition that could put you at higher risk because you're either immunocompromised, because of the medicine you might be on or you have a risk factor like heart disease or lung disease, you're going to be at higher risk as well. So I think people may need to make individual assessments of their risk as they make judgments about what they should and should be doing, like wearing a mask in an indoor setting and also judging the setting."
Virus Expert Says, Find Your Comfort Level and Be Cool With It
Gottlieb said, "We need to make a judgment about just what our comfort is. A lot of people have spent a year wearing masks, taking certain precautions. And so it's going to take some time for us to get comfortable again, going into settings without taking those precautions. I think there's nothing wrong with wearing a mask if you're still in an indoor setting, even in an environment where it's not- not mandated. And in some places, it's the etiquette. If you go into a pharmacy or a doctor's office, people expect you to be wearing a mask. So people have also got to make an assessment about what their comfort level is. And the good news is that I think culturally we've changed in that if you're walking around with a mask right now, you're not looked upon in an odd fashion. Whereas, you know, two years ago, if you wore a mask, everyone would take a step back from you."
Virus Expert Says The Vaccine Makes it Less Likely You'll Pass COVID to Someone Else
Dr. Gottlieb said that "if you do get infected, if you are vaccinated and you become asymptomatically infected, you're far less likely to transmit the infection. Now, we haven't fully quantified the magnitude of that, but it is substantial. So someone who is fully vaccinated, even if they do end up getting infected with the virus and either know they're infected or they don't know they're infected, they haven't developed symptoms, there's still going to be far less likely to spread that infection. So by getting vaccinated, you're protecting those around you, even if you're at lower risk, if you're someone who could potentially come into contact with the virus and put others at risk, and you don't want to be in that position of putting other people at risk. You have elderly parents, you have children, you have other people around you who may be vulnerable. Getting vaccinated is going to substantially reduce the likelihood that you could introduce the infection into a setting where other people could be put at risk."
Virus Expert Said As Soon as June, the Risk Overall Will be "Very Low"
Dr. Gottlieb was asked about kids who are unvaccinated. "I think this gets back to some of the first points we discussed. You're going to have to make an assessment about the risk. I don't think kids need to be wearing masks outside anymore. I think CDC is going to have to revise its guidance for summer camps because wearing a mask, you know, is difficult in the summertime when it's hot," he said. "And I don't think that the risk merits that. But I do think parents need to make an assessment about the risk of the environment the child's going to be in." He said: "The rate of infection is coming down sharply. I think by June, we're probably going to be at one infection per 100,000 people per day, which is a very low level….So the risk is going to be quite low when we get to that point." Right now, "The U.S. rate is now 8 cases per 100,000, down from 22 during the most recent peak, when new cases averaged about 71,000 on April 14," reports the New York Times. And to get through life at your healthiest, don't miss: This Supplement Can Raise Your Cancer Risk, Experts Say.