It certainly feels like we’ve been here before. Nationally, coronavirus case numbers are the highest they’ve been since the start of 2021. Hospitalization rates are on a roaring upswing in nearly every state. Young kids—many of them still ineligible for immunization—are gearing up for another pandemic school year. And even while SARS-CoV-2 continues to shape-shift, we’re struggling to get more shots into arms. The summer is starting to feel a lot like the long, hard winter many people were sure they’d left behind.
Last week, the CDC played what probably seemed like one of the most obvious cards left in its hand: asking fully vaccinated people to once again mask in public indoor spaces, in places where the virus is surging.“So much of the previous messaging was ‘Wear a mask until we have a vaccine developed’ or ‘until we have people vaccinated,’” says Gretchen Chapman, a psychologist who studies decision-making behavior around vaccines at Carnegie Mellon University. Masks were a stopgap, and shedding them was a reward for rolling up our sleeves. “Now,” Chapman told me, “it seems to some people like that reward is getting taken back.” Read the full story in The Atlantic.