The US CDC published guidance for individuals who have been fully vaccinated. The guidance defines fully vaccinated individuals as those who have received the full course of doses for their vaccine—i.e., 2 doses of a 2-dose vaccine or 1 dose of a single-dose vaccine—and at least 2 weeks having passed since receiving the final dose. The guidance provides information for vaccinated individuals regarding activities and precautions, including among other vaccinated individuals and unvaccinated individuals. In public settings, vaccinated individuals are recommended to follow existing COVID-19 risk mitigation measures, including physical distancing (e.g., 6-foot separation) and mask use, because much of the public remains unvaccinated and still at risk for COVID-19. In private settings, fully vaccinated individuals can meet with other fully vaccinated individuals or with unvaccinated individuals from one other household without wearing masks or physically distancing, as long as all unvaccinated individuals are at low risk for severe disease. Gatherings of more than 2 households or gatherings with unvaccinated high-risk individuals should still employ COVID-19 prevention measures, such as mask use, physical distancing, enhanced hygiene, and meeting in a well-ventilated space. The CDC has not yet issued travel-related guidance for vaccinated individuals, and health officials continue to recommend against non-essential travel for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine or get tested if exposed to a known COVID-19 case, as long as they remain asymptomatic, with the exception of those living in congregate settings (e.g., long-term care facilities [LTCFs], correctional facilities). If a vaccinated individual does test positive or exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, CDC recommends s/he should self-isolate for 10 days. Guidance regarding not wearing a mask specifically excludes health care settings so for the time being my prediction that we will be wearing a mask in the hospital forevermore is still accurate.
In addition to the guidance itself, the CDC published information regarding the underlying evidence, including from animal studies, human clinical trials, and real-world data collected since the initiation of mass vaccination operations. The CDC emphasized that the guidance will continue to be updated as vaccination coverage increases, the epidemiological situation evolves, and researchers more fully characterize vaccine’s effectiveness, particularly with respect to the vaccines’ impact on transmission. Since the start of the Long Term Care Facilities vaccination effort in mid-December, weekly COVID-19 incidence and mortality has decreased substantially. At the peak (the week of December 20, 2020), the CDC reported 34,251 new cases among LTCF residents, and the weekly total has declined since then. During the week of February 28, 2021, the US reported only 1,474 new cases, a decrease of more than 95% from the peak. Similarly, the US reported 7,049 deaths among LTCF residents during the week of December 20, 2020, which fell to 1,350 the week of February 28, 2021—a decrease of more than 80%. Beyond the residents, similar trends are evident in the LTCF staff population. At the peak (week of December 13, 2020), the US reported 29,181 new cases among LTCF staff. During the week of February 28, 2021, there were only 2,157 cases among LTCF staff, a decrease of 92% from the peak. The mortality data for LTCF staff is a little more difficult to analyze due to relatively low numbers and delayed holiday reporting, However, from the most recent peak of 63 deaths during the week of January 10, 2021, mortality fell to 26 deaths the week of February 28, 2021—a decrease of 58%. The magnitude and timing of the COVID-19 decline in LTCF residents and staff provide evidence that the vaccination campaign is making a direct impact on this vulnerable population. Please don’t put yourself or others at risk, take the vaccine.
CSSE is reporting 29,086,784 positive cases in the U.S. and 527,482 deaths. DOH reported 1,952,733 confirmed cases in Florida today, with 31,889 deaths.