The battle lines are drawn. New York City and the major metropolitan cities of California have issued new orders to fight against the surge in the COVID-19 heat. In the Big Apple, you’ll need to be vaccinated to eat at a restaurant or work out at the gym. In the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Sacramento, you must wear a mask, be vaccinated or not, to go inside.
Is one strategy better than the other at repelling an aggressive delta variant?
An epidemiologist at the University of California-San Francisco, Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo said that although no strategy is wrong, if she were to choose a mandate, it would not be a mask.
“The only short- and long-term solution is to get as many people vaccinated, and if there is one thing I can do, it would be to take steps to get more people vaccinated,” Bibbins-Domingo said.
New York City – which issued its First Nation vaccine mandate on Tuesday – has not thrown masks out the window, and recommended face coverings for everyone indoors. And California – where a new mask mandate came in on Monday – requires all state workers and health workers to provide proof of vaccination or submit to routine testing. But there is a considerable difference in what each region chooses to order.
Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano asked on Monday whether the vaccine mandate would soon follow the Bay Area’s seven-county mask mandate he announced, adding that he and other health officials are vaccinating employers The necessity is encouraged, but the purpose of the masks is to avoid the strain on hospitals now filling with COVID-19 patients.
The blitzkrieg of the Delta version across the country presents a major challenge to public health and government officials. As the summer began and cases declined, he was so confident that powerful vaccines would put pandemics past that he lifted mask requirements and other activity restrictions on June 15.
But now infection rates and hospitalizations are rising again – mostly, though not entirely, among people who have not yet received shots – even in nearly half of the US, 53% of Californians. And 57% of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated.
On Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a worrying study on the large-scale outbreak in Cape Cod during the Independence Day holiday, showing that although the chances of getting vaccinated are very small, those who do so do they may be able to spread the virus.
The CDC cited a study last week that recommended that everyone, vaccinated or not, wear a mask indoors, where the virus spreads more easily, reversing its May guidance that immunizations should be given to most people. Can go without mask in indoor settings.
in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an order Monday requiring proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine From employees and customers at indoor eateries, fitness and entertainment facilities starting August 16, with enforcement through September 13. Unlike San Francisco, where hundreds of bars and restaurants announced last week that patrons must show proof of vaccination or negative COVID tests to come in, NYC offers no testing options.
De Blasio explained that the goal was to boost vaccination – which has slowed nationwide in recent weeks.
“It’s the whole ballgame, everyone,” de Blasio said. “It is time for people to see vaccination as a truly essential for living a good and full and healthy life.”
Dr Michael Lin, associate professor of neurobiology and bioengineering at Stanford University, said on Monday that the effectiveness of masks or vaccinations in keeping cases under control varies from indoor settings.
“Compared to requiring masks indoors, this does not apply to eating or drinking in restaurants, so the vaccination policy would be better suited to restaurants,” Lin said. “Overall requiring a vaccine card to dine indoors is a good idea for me, and some restaurants may require their own without waiting for guidance from government agencies. Now with rising rates and New York taking the lead. That should make it more attractive. Since the majority of Californians are vaccinated, this may be a very popular policy among foodies.”
For Jim, however, “whether the net risk is higher in gyms with everyone masked and some people unvaccinated, or with everyone vaccinated and some people wearing no masks, it’s really impossible to know, Lin said. “I think it’s best to have a mask at the gym that provides at least a known amount of protection. However if the gym required both vaccinations and a mask, that would certainly be the safest.”
Andrew Noymer, associate professor of population health and disease prevention at UC-Irvine, said he was “not particularly impressed by either approach.”
“It’s really a sign of virtue, not epidemiology,” Noymer said. “Is the bouncer going to ask if your photo ID matches your vaccine card? How long before the motivated people who disagree with the vaccine mandate are going to make fake vaccine cards? At least with masking, you can verify, but there’s no such thing as masking when you’re drinking or eating. Safe money just isn’t going to these places until things get better. Avoid these indoor activities, full stop.”
Bibbins-Domingo said mask orders are a better short-term answer to rapidly rising cases — vaccines, especially two-dose shots, can take 5-6 weeks to generate immunity. But the mask order risks confusing people about the effectiveness of vaccines, which most health experts say should remain the primary goal.
However, vaccine passports such as New York City face implementation challenges. After de Blasio’s announcement, National Restaurant Association pushed back, arguing that implementing it would be a burden.
“I think it’s hard and subtle to communicate—none of it is wrong,” Bibbins-Domingo said. “The question is whether this confuses people more about the short, medium and long term targets. Right now, the thing driving the rising number of cases everywhere is that there are still a lot of people who haven’t been vaccinated. “