What you can see from the graph is that current daily infections in the US dropped like a rock in February 2021. That’s great news if you compare it to December 2020 and January 2021, when daily cases were hitting 250,000! But daily cases now seem to have plateaued at around 70,000 per day. That’s about the same number of cases during the peak of what we now call the second wave of the virus last summer, when most of the country had imposed new restrictions on businesses and gatherings. So is now the time to let down our guard? Ummmm, give me a second ... think ... think … No! Grrr.
Since there are apparently going to be as many flavors of recommendations, mandates, and restrictions as there are states, cities, and counties, it seems that everyone will be on their own to figure out what they should do in the next few months. Newly vaccinated people are especially likely to be wondering what they can do. Can they visit their grandchildren? Can they go back to group lessons at their Pilates gym? How about private lessons? How about church? Would any of these activities put them in danger themselves? Would they be endangering others, like their grandchildren’s parents or playmates, or like their still unvaccinated friends?
How to decide?
In this article, I unveil (ta-da!) my own personal pandemic visualization tool. Your students can create their own using objects they find at home. I used pasta (my default choice for both science activities and dinner), but Lego blocks, M&M candies, or a variety of breakfast cereals would work too. The point is to create a concrete (don’t use concrete, though; it’s definitely too heavy) representation of what the pandemic looks like right now, and how ongoing vaccination campaigns will change the risk landscape over time. This can be used to think about how risky any particular activity might be, for you or those you come into contact with. You can look at it from the point of view of a vaccinated person, or someone who’s recovered from COVID, or someone who’s still susceptible.
Here’s the key to the different kinds of pasta: