Masks off in T-Town?

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Publix and Walmart, among other stores, in T-Town had new signage about mask wearing. One such notice said that “Fully vaccinated people are no longer required to wear face coverings. If you’re not fully vaccinated, help protect others by continuing to wear a face covering over your nose and mouth.” Such requests were in line with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

A staff report in the Tuscaloosa News reported that the University of Alabama had “modified some of the COVID-19 restrictions for summer commencement ceremonies.” Masks would no longer be required for fully vaccinated attendees. The university had not as yet mandated that its students be vaccinated so it would be highly probable that many unvaccinated graduating students would be complying by wearing masks.

As far as schools that require vaccinations are concerned, all colleges in Illinois could be added to the over 530 schools that will mandate that students will be vaccinated. NBC/5 reported that the mandated vaccinations were “in line with recommendations by the American College Health Association and follows vaccine mandates introduced at other Illinois higher education institutions including DePaul University, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.”

University Business published a list of schools that mandated vaccinations (as of June 23, 2021).

Cecilia Smith-Schoenwalder wrote in US News and World Report that “Vaccination rates have slowed among U.S. populations since mid-April, with the lowest coverage reported among young adults, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

CNN‘s Madeline Holcombe reported that people who had not been vaccinated were of higher risk of dying from Covid-19. She wrote:

Those still dying from Covid-19 in the US are “overwhelmingly” unvaccinated, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Fauci said he thinks a return to the high virus surges of 2020 is unlikely, but communities continuing to hold out against vaccination could experience localized surges as the summer continues.

Claudia Yaw reported in The Chronicle about a county in Washington state where fully vaccinated governmental staff members had been allowed to not wear masks. The employees were required to have proof of vaccination. The policy was in line with new Washington state Department of Labor and Industries guidance. “Proof of vaccination will be required from employees, although the county will not retain a copy of that medical document. Fully-vaccinated members of the public who remove their masks will not be asked for vaccination proof.”

City Hall in Tuscaloosa, unlike many stores in T-Town and the University of Alabama, had been complying only with state guidelines on mask wearing, which were not in alignment with CDC guidelines. The state’s mask mandate expired April 9, 2021. Alabama‘s latest COVID-19 public health order encouraged but did not require residents to wear masks when within 6 feet of someone from another household. Only a few Council members have acknowledged that they are fully vaccinated.

The 2021 college football season was scheduled to begin by the end of summer. There was no indication that Bryant-Denny Stadium‘s over 100,000 fans would have similar mask restrictions as those of the university’s summer commencement.

Alabama was 49th in the nation in vaccinations. Only Mississippi had fewer people who were fully vaccinated. The fact that Vietnamese immigrants are the most vaccinated people in Alabama was reported by AL.com‘s Sarah Whites-Koditschek. While 34% of Alabamians were fully vaccinated, 90% in the Vietnamese community living on the Gulf of Mexico had received vaccinations.

Some people in T-Town doubtlessly wished that more Crimson Tide fans were Vietnamese.

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