DEAR HARRIETTE: Now that a lot of people are getting vaccinated, I see more people going outside, meeting up in groups and not wearing masks. This frightens me. We are not even close to being fully vaccinated yet. I get that people are tired of being cooped up at home, but I don’t think this is smart. Several friends have been calling, trying to get me to hang out with them, but I’m not ready. When I say that, they call me a scaredy-cat. Really? Do you think I’m being too cautious? Several of my friends passed away from COVID-19. One of them was older and unwell, but one of them was the picture of health and young, and he died anyway. I am scared. -- Reentry
DEAR REENTRY: First, I want to express my condolences for your losses during the pandemic. As of this writing, more than 537,000 people in our country have died, and the death toll has not stopped climbing even now as the vaccinations are reaching more people. You are not wrong to be concerned.
Most of us have been home for a whole year. Naturally, it is with some trepidation that we venture out socially, even if vaccinated. You are not wrong to be cautious. The good news is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has come up with guidelines for fully vaccinated people to help ensure safe reentry into daily life. It turns out, you can be in the company of other fully vaccinated people indoors without masks. You can be around unvaccinated people from the same household indoors without a mask. You should continue to practice social distancing with a mask in larger groups or when the space is not well-ventilated.
You can begin to engage socially, so you may want to take your friends up on their invitation if they, too, are vaccinated. Here’s more information from the CDC: bit.ly/2P16Vwf.