With the CDC updating its guidelines around mask-wearing for fully vaccinated Americans, many states have dropped their mask mandates. For some, this heralds a long overdue return to normalcy. For others, losing a proven -- and visible -- means of protection is a source of anxiety. Irrespective of how individuals feel about these changes, however, one thing is certain: lifting mask mandates makes fast, reliable testing more critical than ever.
Here’s why testing matters as we reopen workplaces and social spaces:
- Vaccination rates probably aren’t as high as you think -- and they’re slowing.
Presently around 45% of Americans meet the CDC’s definition of being “fully vaccinated.” Putting it another way, the odds of the maskless person next to you in your workplace, at a conference, or in a store are slightly worse than a coin flip. And with most estimates requiring a vaccination rate of at least 60-70% for any chance at herd immunity, it’s likely that uncertainty around immune status and general COVID-19 risk factors will be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future. Against that backdrop, access to testing provides valuable peace of mind -- particularly for anyone working closely with others.
- The impact of breakthrough COVID-19 cases isn’t fully understood.
For those who are vaccinated, there’s still some risk of contracting COVID-19. While rare, these “breakthrough cases” raise potentially troubling questions. Are they a means by which we can unwittingly incubate more vaccine-resistant strains of the disease? To what extent do they represent a meaningful spread vector among as-yet-unvaccinated people? We simply don’t know at this point. The speed of vaccine development and deployment has been truly astounding, but the sheer newness of it means we’re still figuring things out as we go.
- We have to stay vigilant, but we have to focus on work, too.
The whole point of mask mandates, social distancing, mass vaccinations, and every other step in the fight against COVID-19 has been to get the pandemic in check -- and save lives -- so that things can eventually go back to something like normal. As we continue this transition, it’s vitally important that we remain on the lookout for new potential outbreaks and new disease variants. At the same time, it’s equally important that we create room to focus on our own lives, loved ones, and jobs without constant worry. Seamless, readily accessible testing allows people to do both.
With all we’ve been through over the past year, it’s no wonder that changing guidelines are often sparking as much confusion as relief. Reopening America safely isn’t a single policy decision, it’s a process, and rolling out the next generation of COVID-19 testing will be the crucial safeguard allowing us to try more, to do more, and to get back to business.
Want help with your workplace COVID-19 testing plan? Wellstand has one-of-a-kind expertise in everything you need to make testing easier, better, and more affordable. Contact us today to find out more.