Other said masks were required in outdoor situations where the distance could not be maintained, e.g. B. when picnicking or hiking. A quarter said masks were always necessary back then.

“Remember to always ensure two out of three: masks, outdoor distancing, especially for those who have not been vaccinated,” said Eyal Oren, an epidemiologist at San Diego State University.

During outdoor activities with large crowds where it is difficult to keep your distance, such as at a concert or protest, the epidemiologists almost all agreed that masks are still necessary regardless of vaccination status. Some suggested that we continue to avoid such events if possible. “There will almost certainly be vaccinated and unvaccinated people who mingle in an event like this,” said Steve Ostroff, an epidemiologist with a private practice.

The endless decisions about how to behave in the pandemic remain complicated. However, the risk calculations are starting to change. When it comes to pandemic decisions for people who have been vaccinated, it may ultimately be less about protecting society as a whole than about one’s own willingness to take risks.

“I think when all high-risk groups are vaccinated it is time to draw attention to the fact that everyone can decide for themselves what risks they are comfortable with,” said Anders Huitfeldt, epidemiologist at the University of Southern Denmark.

Some epidemiologists say this shift can happen once people are vaccinated: “Vaccination should open the floodgates to anything you could do before,” said Zachary Binney, an epidemiologist at Emory.

However, many said coronavirus precautions are important to protecting people at high risk and slowing the spread of the virus, even for people who have been vaccinated: “While I like to take personal risks, I wouldn’t tolerate risks that harm others said Kevin Andresen, who heads the Colorado Department of Public Health’s Covid Response Team. “Covid precautions protect everyone, not just me.”