When you hear the top health agency in the United States has given their country the all clear to lift mask-wearing
guidance for people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, you realise how far we still have to go.
While lifting the masks in the US will still come with terms and conditions, it shows the massive strides they have made in the fight against the pandemic. The lifting of masks may be a bit premature but it highlights how many countries have rolled out successful inoculation drives as they seek herd immunity.
Back home, we have a long way to go even though from Monday, our government embarks on the second phase of vaccination roll-out for those over the age of 60 and for vulnerable groups. From Monday, government will target 130 sites in the public sector using the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, as they attempt to conclude the initial phase of jabs for healthcare workers. Private sector sites will open later next week, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says.
In the US, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention director, Rochelle Walensky, said: “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without a mask or physical distancing.”
Masks “may still be required on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transport travelling into, within, or out of the US, and in US transport at hubs such as airports and stations”, the website said.
It is reported nearly 60% of American adults have had one or more doses, as the US reports hospitalisations are at the lowest since April last year. They have given 250 million vaccine shots in 114 days.
While we are still wary of people not wearing masks – even those who have been vaccinated – it shows the massive strides some countries have made in the past 16 months.
Let’s hope SA can learn from this success.