Health

COVID-19 Looks To Be On The Way Out, So Why Aren’t The Restrictions?

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
Font Size:

The COVID-19 pandemic looks to be on the retreat in the U.S., but the remaining restrictions being imposed by government are not.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), daily new cases of COVID-19 are down 45% in the past month. Daily deaths are down over 31% and total hospitalized patients are down almost 43%. All three metrics are barreling toward levels not seen since this summer, when the Biden administration preemptively declared victory over the virus.

Despite that encouraging data, the CDC has not amended its masking guidance since the onset of the delta variant surge, and a number of major U.S. cities and some states have not loosened their COVID-19 restrictions that were put in place after the summer.

Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Berkeley, Kansas City, Los Angeles and Minneapolis are among the cities which still have a mask mandate of some kind in place in indoor spaces. Oregon has an outdoor mask mandate in place, even for the vaccinated, despite little evidence that outdoor activities present a risk of spreading COVID-19. Hawaii still has limits in place on the size of gatherings, making it the only state  to still have such restrictions.

Baltimore, unlike most other jurisdictions with mandates in place, has laid out a timetable for a return to normalcy: the city will lift its mandate once it sees two consecutive weeks of falling case numbers, Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said just over two weeks ago.

But no such guidance has come from the CDC, the Biden administration, the president’s top medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, or most state and local health officials. While the situation on the ground improves, there is zero indication from most key decision-makers of when that will translate to more normalcy for Americans. (RELATED: Even Without Vaccines, Kids Are Still Safer From COVID-19 Than Their Vaccinated Grandparents)

President Joe Biden and his administration have continued to stress the importance of vaccination, but most of the low-hanging fruit on that front appears to have been picked: since a delta-driven surge in vaccination rate began in the summer, the U.S. has remained stuck between 700,000 and 1,000,000 doses per day for most of the past several months. Almost four of five adults have received at least one dose of vaccine, and some number of the rest have acquired some level of natural immunity from prior infection.

Fauci did not respond to multiple inquiries from the Daily Caller last week about what his end goal for COVID-19 is. Fauci has said that even mild and moderate infections should not be tolerated by society at-large, but he has not offered any alternative vision for what a victory over COVID-19 looks like.

Biden has said that 97% or 98% of Americans must get vaccinated for the pandemic to be defeated, but not a single public health expert who has spoken with the Daily Caller agrees with him. Those rates would be higher than the vaccination rates against diseases like polio, measles and chicken pox. (RELATED: Merck Seeks Approval For Experimental COVID-19 Pill)

With the CDC’s inaction and Biden’s lack of clarity, Americans are being left to decide for themselves when the pandemic will end. According to a recent poll, less than half of Americans think the pandemic will end by the end of 2022. With no guidance coming from the experts, nearly a quarter said they fear it will “last forever.”