More vaccines, fewer mask rules as US keeps fighting COVID

More vaccines, fewer mask rules as US keeps fighting COVID

The United States is steadily chipping away at vaccine hesitancy and driving down COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations to the point that schools, governments and corporations are lifting mask restrictions yet again.

Nearly 200 million Americans are fully vaccinated and the nation’s over-65 population, which bore the brunt of the pandemic when it started nearly two years ago, is enthusiastically embracing vaccines.

Nearly 98% of the over-65 population has received at least one COVID-19 shot and more than 25% of them have gotten boosters, just weeks after they were authorized. The improving metrics could get a boost from President Joe Biden’s workplace mandate unveiled Thursday and the launch of COVID-19 shots in elementary-age students.

Seniors also are playing a role in getting other family members vaccinated. Erin Lipsker plans to get her 8-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son vaccinated as soon as possible so they can see her parents and her 98-year-old grandmother. An added motivation is that Lipsker was treated for cancer two years ago, and her 8-year-old daughter, Kennedy, has asthma.

“The more children and adults are vaccinated, the quicker we will be able to resume a new normal. I want that for my kids. I want that for our planet,” said Lipsker, of Spokane, Washington. “I think I will feel much safer around our family. I have a 98-year-old grandmother that my kids adore. I will feel safer having my kids around her, and my parents.”

But the pandemic has proven hard to control. In the U.S., winter is coming and diseases like COVID-19 often spread easier with people indoors and closer together. The worst surge in the nation happened last winter, before the vaccines were widely available.

Source: AP News