Recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control has eliminated the need for masks for people who are fully vaccinated, meaning they have had both shots (or the single Johnson & Johnson shot) more than two weeks before. I was also happy to see the mask restrictions rapidly change at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park from everyone has to wear a mask and a 20% capacity maximum down to masks are optional and they are up for 100% capacity within two weeks of the home games officially starting. But do these changes mark a grand slam against COVID-19 or is it more of a suicide squeeze play?*

The pandemic is not over, especially for those who have not been vaccinated. They still need to protect themselves by wearing masks, socially distancing, and being cautious about wiping down areas and things they may come into physical contact with or risk contracting the virus. According to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director D. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. population needs to reach between 70-85% of the population being fully vaccinated until we reach “herd immunity” levels, and even then there is no guarantee that an unvaccinated person will not contract COVID-19 or one of the variants popping up. Until we reach the point where virtually all children and adults are being vaccinated, we can’t claim to have won this fight.

So what does this mean for our office policies? It’s simple:

  • If you have been fully vaccinated, meaning it has been two weeks since your final dosage, then you do not have to wear a mask in the office nor will the fully vaccinated members of our staff.
  • If you have not been fully vaccinated, then for your own safety please wear a mask, and we will all do the same.
  • If you have been fully vaccinated but still prefer to wear a mask just to be sure, we will also wear a mask.

It has been a very difficult fifteen months dealing with the pandemic, and it really isn’t over yet until we reach the levels of herd immunity. It’s also a pretty safe bet that booster shots will be needed, and, eventually, annual vaccinations will be needed just like with flu shots. So was this change a grand slam or a suicide squeeze play? More like a line drive double with three runs batted in.

* For those non-baseball geeks out there, a grand slam is a home run with runners on all three bases scoring four runs. A suicide squeeze play is when there is a runner on third base and the batter bunts the ball a short distance knowing they’ll likely be thrown out at first base but the runner on third base will score. To see the video on the mask policy, please check out the channel at www.YouTube.com/nclawyer and the specific video by clicking here.