Two of Three or...
The Vermont Department of Health recently loosened its COVID-19 mitigation guidance a bit. In the past, they would have recommended that all unvaccinated people stay outdoors, masked, and distanced whenever they have any chance of coming into contact with someone outside the household. Now, you can choose two of the following three recommendations: stay outdoors, stay masked, and stay distanced. Here are the possible combinations:
Outside and masked. If you’re outside and masked, you can get a little closer than you otherwise would. This is a great approach for playing or watching sports, for instance.
Outside and distanced. Going maskless is fine, if you stay distanced and outdoors. This is difficult to do during an outdoor party with friends, but it is a great strategy for exercising outdoors with members of your household. Keep your mask with you, just in case you end up in a crowd.
Masked and distanced. If you must be inside, be sure to stay at least 6 feet apart and wear your masks. Opening the windows and keeping these visits short is the safest way to visit indoors.
Or Just One! Vaccine. The best protection is a COVID-19 vaccine. We can tell how powerful they are by just how few vaccinated people we see getting sick with COVID-19. Cases among the most vaccinated age group, those over the age of 65, have virtually disappeared, according to Vermont Commissioner of Health Dr. Mark Levine. In addition, we are not seeing any long-term side effects among the millions of people who have been vaccinated so far.
The vaccine allows you to go indoors with others outside your household without having to worry about masks or distance, as long as those you are with are also vaccinated. Getting vaccinated allows you and your friends to associate in the ways you are used to, and there’s nothing more fun than that.
Vaccination appointments are available now, and several walk-in clinics are being launched all over the state. See the vaccine section at www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19 to schedule yours.
Marie George, MD, FIDSA, is an infectious disease specialist at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.