How much longer will I have to wear a mask and social distance? What needs to happen?
Currently, there's not enough information at this time to determine if or when the majority of the population can safely stop wearing masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the CDC says, but it will likely come down to the numbers.
When there are enough observable changes, such as cases dropping and the threat levels of community spread sharply falling. When that happens, medical experts can redetermine the need for mask-wearing. However, it could be well into 2021 before that happens.
"We would need to see a dramatic decrease in the number of new cases per 100,000 of the population after enough vaccines have been administered," Gonsenhauser said.
For more information, here are the COVID-19 vaccine side effects and what we know so far, and hidden medical charges you could encounter after getting the vaccine. Also, here's where you can get the COVID-19 vaccine when it's your turn.
It's going to take months or longer for enough of the population to be vaccinated to start seeing case numbers go down substantially. Therefore, it's important to continue wearing masks whenever you're around people outside your household.
"If after getting vaccinated, people stop wearing their masks, other people who haven't been vaccinated could start thinking masks aren't necessary anymore," Gonsenhauser said of social behavior. If those unvaccinated people have the virus, they can spread it faster by not wearing a mask.
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