Too Fast, Too Soon

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Arthur Solomon

At its winter’s peak, the average number of deaths in the United States from Covid-19 was more than 4,000 daily.  Now, the average number of daily deaths from the disease is in the hundreds. That’s progress, but that many deaths daily from the coronavirus is not good news; it’s better news.

Because of the increased number of people fully vaccinated and the decreasing death rates from coronavirus, the  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on May 13, issued guidelines detailing that under some circumstances going maskless indoor is now permitted and fully vaccinated people can dispense with wearing masks outdoors.

That announcement, of course, is what some businesses, especially the cruise lines, and some state governors have been championing for weeks, some for months. But for others the new guidelines will not go far enough, as the coming days comments from politicians, pundits and business entities will prove.

Already there are disagreements with the CDC’s advisory. Reuters reported that Kroger Co said it would keep its mask requirements in place “at this time.” Target said “it will continue requiring coronavirus safety measures in all stores, including masks and social distancing, while it reviews the guidance.”

And The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), reported Reuters, which represents 1.3 million retail and grocery workers, called the new guidelines “confusing,” adding it “fails to consider how it will impact essential workers who face frequent exposure to individuals who are not vaccinated and refuse to wear masks.”

The New York Times reported that “The new advice comes with caveats. Even vaccinated individuals must cover their faces and physically distance when going to doctors, hospitals or long-term care facilities like nursing homes; when traveling by bus, plane, train or other modes of public 

transportation, or while in transportation hubs like airports and bus stations; and in congregate settings such as homeless shelters, as well as prisons or jails.”

The CDC advisory does not override any local, state or business regulations about mask wearing.

Personally, while I am fully vaccinated, I will still avoid indoor gatherings of large people until more Americans are fully vaccinated because of a recent Covid underreported outbreak regarding an American institution, the New York Yankees baseball team.

As of Thursday evening, May 13, the Yankees reported that eight members of its staff including support, coaches and players, have tested positive for Covid despite all being vaccinated, which makes me believe that the CDC loosening of mask requirement is premature. 

While eight people out of the hundreds of thousands who have been vaccinated might seem like an insignificant number, the still daily Covid-19 death rates of hundreds a day is not.

Together with a study released last week by the  University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation,  which estimated   that the number of people who have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. is more than 900,000, a number 57% higher than official figures, leads me to believe that  until a full study of the Yankee Covid outbreak is studied, that the CDC decision was to fast, to soon.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.