(WFSB) – Now that the state has reopened, you’re allowed to pretty much live a pre-pandemic live.
Even though you can return to normal, many are probably weighing their options, wondering if they should start going out and what to do.
Everyone will need to decide what’s best for them and their families, but Channel 3 wanted to give you a look at what some of the most brilliant minds in Connecticut are doing.
Dr. Summer McGee from the University of New Haven, Keith Grant from Hartford HealthCare, Dr. Sten Vermund from Yale, Lisa Cuchara from Quinnipiac, and Dr. David Banach from UConn Health are experts that Channel 3 has consulted with during the last year and a half.
Giving them more than a dozen scenarios, Channel 3 asked them what they are comfortable doing. All are fully vaccinated, so they’re answering these questions from that standpoint.
With everyday life activities like interacting outside with someone within six feet while not wearing a mask, most were comfortable, but some were still leery.
“If I’m not sure of their vaccination status yet, I’m still a little bit leery. Outdoors is something that’s minimal risk, but I’d have to get used to it,” Cuchara said.
All of them were okay with going to the gym. They were also fine with taking a train or bus to work, especially since people still need to wear a mask when using transportation.
When getting to work, the majority of the panel had an issue with working in a socially distanced office with no masks. The ones who answered “no” said it was because the vaccination status of coworkers is likely going to be a mystery.
“In an office environment where there are unvaccinated individuals or people where you’re unsure of their vaccine status, it’s probably prudent to wear masks,” Dr. Banach said.
They all agreed on visiting with older relatives, with the contingency that they were vaccinated, however, the majority were not comfortable hugging or shaking hands.
In fact, the two who did answer yes would only hug if they knew the other person was vaccinated.
“My wife is vaccinated, I hug them all the time, but hugging a stranger or an old friend, not so much,” Dr. Vermund said.
Eating indoors at a restaurant was widely accepted and many said they’re comfortable doing this and other things only because they are vaccinated.
“My vaccination is likely to at least for the next six months, be 95 percent effective, so I’m not particularly worried, even if there are unvaccinated others indoors at a restaurant, etc., because I know I have the immunity to cover me,” Dr. McGee said.
Are they comfortable going on a vacation, which would include staying in a hotel? It was a resounding yes from the panel.
Getting to the destination is a different story.
Channel 3 asked the panel if they were comfortable flying in a plane. All but one said yes, and Dr. McGee brought up a good point about international travel.
“I think that’s a really murky area because as we know, some countries right now are really struggling with COVID-19 infections,” Dr. McGee said.
The panel was split on summertime indoor parties. Two were not comfortable, while two others were. Dr. Banach said he’d be comfortable if he knew the vaccination status of the party.
“I would hesitate being in close proximately to people I don’t know with both parties not masked,” Dr. Banach said.
The majority were okay with going to a casino, but for Dr. McGee, it was under the condition that the mask mandate and plexiglass was still in place.
One thing the panel struggled with was going to a wedding. More were comfortable going to a wedding, but Dr. McGee didn’t want it to be too large, Grant would wear a mask, Cuchara wouldn’t attend at all, and Dr. Banach was not entirely comfortable.
“I would be comfortable for myself, but I would pause a little bit if I’m in close contact with someone I don’t know who may not have been vaccinated,” Dr. Banach said.
One thing they all agreed with is gathering outdoors with friends. For example, Jazz in the Park in Hartford. No one had an issued with that.
Turning to daily errands, all agreed that going to a grocery store or doing general shopping is fine.
The same for getting a haircut in a salon, but Dr. Banach wants to see these businesses continue to wear masks.
Finally, all are comfortable going to see their doctor, but Cuchara offers a tip when scheduling appointments.
“I tend to pick appointments earlier in the day, figuring that overnight, it’s going to be less likely sick people are more likely to be at a doctor’s office,” Cuchara said.
All of the panel said they are reacting this way to these questions because they are all personally vaccinated. If they weren’t, they’d be saying no to most, if not all, of the questions.
As the state collectively takes this step forward in a return to normal, Dr. Vermund gave an analogy that he drives up I-95 to Yale everyday where he cross one of New Haven’s busiest and most dangerous intersections. In fact, a couple of colleagues have died at the intersection, yet he still drives it.
“That’s routine risk taking in life. That’s where I think COVID is now in my life. It’s now in a very low risk routine risk-taking category because of my vaccination status,” Dr. Vermund said.