Hell’s Kitchen appears to have blasted past the herd immunity percentage of 80% vaccinated. Over 150 readers responded to our poll today — and 97% of them are fully vaccinated (and another two percent had the first shot of a two-shot vaccine).
Our previous survey at the end of March, showed only 46% fully vaccinated (which was the week that age group eligibility was moved to 50+). Since that time, anyone 18+ can get vaccinations on-demand in New York.
The feedback today from readers was still cautious, while New York residents got confusing signals from Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio, who have refused to adopt yesterday’s CDC mask guidance. Federal health officials said Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID could stop wearing masks or maintaining social distance in most settings.
“It’s confusing. I will still avoid crowds, indoor dining and remain masked on transit,” said Tracey Berglund. “If the unvaccinated and the vaccinated are unmasked, how can one tell the difference?”
Priya Ahluwalia shared these concerns. “I am not comfortable with taking off my mask. How will we know who is fully vaccinated? We don’t have a stamp on our forehead to show we’re fully vaccinated. Stupidest decision by CDC!” she said.
Peter Shankman jetted off to Texas this morning for his first business trip since March 2020. He told us that he “won’t stop wearing masks for quite some time”
As well as caution, there was relief at the loosening of restrictions. “Happy but careful,” said Françoise. “Full frontal face free outside, but still keeping it covered inside!” shared Kristen. Kevin Hickman is ready to ditch the mask and show his smile. “Definitely! It’s the day we’ve all been waiting (and social distancing and following the rules and guidelines) for!” he said.
Kate O’Neill offered advice on respecting others who are not ready to cast off their masks yet. “I’ve been increasingly maskless in any outdoor setting that doesn’t feel too close or crowded, as well as more recently in indoor spaces with small groups I know are vaccinated,” Kate said. “Still planning to put my mask on when passing people who are wearing masks themselves, in case they’re protecting someone with compromised immunity; it’s an easy way to show consideration just in case.”
Many see the mask as a useful protection for the future in certain situations “I’ll NEVER go unmasked on an airplane again methinks,” said John McLean — reflecting the views of others who will continue to use a mask on public transport.
Holly-Anne Devlin is ready to show her face and smile again, but joked “I need to get a facial and some teeth whitener first!”
“If we have been saying, ‘I trust the science,’ then we must honor that sentiment when science shows that we can remove our masks. I love it and I’m ready! I’m looking forward to New York catching up to the guidance,” said Gregg.
As tourism returns to New York and our neighborhood, the percentage of vaccinated people will drop. Jason Byrd warned: “I’m ready, but cautious. I trust most of my neighbors in Hell’s Kitchen to be responsible. This community has shown resilience and compassion during a difficult year. But I don’t trust the tourists returning to our city. We’ve seen the worst of our fellow citizens refusing to mask up in the height of the pandemic, flaunting social distancing rules, and now refusing to get vaccinated.”