The news on the COVID crisis is confusing and dangerous. The CDC say there is no need to wear a mask, subject to the condition: “if fully vaccinated.” I believe this condition is not emphasized enough. President Biden has set a goal to have 70% of the country vaccinated with at least one dose — but not all are fully vaccinated. Ten states say they have achieved the 70% goal — again, not fully vaccinated. So now everything is opening up, including Florida, and everyone is behaving as if the virus has gone away.
So we must ask is the good news too good to be true? Is it as Shakespeare’s Hamlet famously said: “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” Let’s look at the 70% goal. This came about because the experts said we can achieve “herd immunity“ when 70% of the country is fully vaccinated. Note the word “fully.” That does not mean 50% fully vaccinated is good enough. If you are among the 50% who are not fully vaccinated then your risk of infection, serious hospitalization, and death, is the same today as it was in January this year and most of last year. There is no herd immunity.
The numbers of cases and deaths are coming down and this is taken to mean the problem is over. But the 50% who are fully vaccinated are not included in the numbers any more. They are not getting infected, going to hospitals or dying. The recent numbers apply only to the 50% who are not fully vaccinated so the real percentages are twice as high as they seem to be. Citrus County still has as many as 150 new cases per week with another nine dead. The country as a whole still has 150,000 new cases and 4,000 deaths per week. Does that sound like the virus has gone away?
Plus, we have COVID variants arising in Brazil, Argentina, India, Australia, South Africa, the UK, and probably more. There are travel limitations throughout the world, for example the USA is now limiting travel from the UK. But there is plenty of opportunity for variants to reach our country and our massive local influx of visitors provides an opportunity for some of these variants to arrive in our Citrus County neighborhoods.
Is it too good to be true? Yes!
Kenneth J. Clark