‘Keep Up Your Masks, Your Distance, and Your Perspective’

Insights from former CDC director Tom Frieden

Photo: Mika Baumeister/Unsplash

There’s reason to feel hopeful about the state of the pandemic in the United States.

Though variants are plenty scary and deserve careful attention (keep your upgraded masks on), so too do the drop in case rates and significant uptick in vaccination numbers deserve celebration. We’re getting there.

As former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden writes in his latest weekly update for the Coronavirus Blog, “If things continue to go as planned, by June anyone in the United States over the age of 16 who wants a vaccine should be able to get one.”

Though the virus shows no sign of departing, Frieden suggests we’re moving closer to “taming” it in the United States, variants and vaccine equity notwithstanding (both of which pose real challenges and demand stringent focus). And he notes that the global threat remains daunting: “We need to scale up control measures, including vaccination, everywhere.”

Frieden urges cautious optimism for Americans. “The biggest driver of the decrease is us: masking, distancing, reducing travel,” he says. “The odds of the United States experiencing a large fourth surge are falling steadily. But please, keep up your masks, your distance, and your perspective: 2,000 deaths a day is horrifying. A 75% reduction from a huge number is still a huge number. In a few more months, if all of us keep it up, we’ll be in much better shape.”

Senior Platform Editor, Elemental. I write and edit stories about health, science, well-being, and behavior.

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