Vaccination rates are going down. Testing rates are going down. Are the pandemic case numbers doing the same?
This week we came across a lot of opinions about the CDC's announcement that masks are no longer necessary for vaccinated individuals. Partly because it came as a bit of a surprise to the medical establishment - both providers and journalists - and partly because of the mixed reactions people had based on where they were emotionally.
On the one hand, it's encouraging that we are looking more and more like we're reaching a turning point. But it's also dangerous to think the danger is passed, because if we go "back to normal" too quickly and without enough precautions - especially in a medical setting - we might run the risk of reigniting the pandemic.
- Organizations like APIC and the NNU have criticized the CDC's announcement. Because discontinuing mask usage will endanger the most vulnerable members of society.
- On the vaccine side, providers are increasingly requiring vaccinations for all employees. How will that interact with vaccine hesitancy, especially those with religious objections?
- Requirements may be the only way to keep up the pace of vaccinations, though, as demand for vaccines is going down faster than it should. And - thanks to those same CDC guidelines - testing rates are going to dip significantly, too.
- Another way that healthcare companies are increasing the safety of their workers - as well as offloading some costs - is making remote work permanent for many employees. Near the top of that list, as you might suspect, are finance - including supply chain - pros.
- Those very departments were the ones called upon to testify before Congress about pandemic response and preparedness for the next one. The general consensus was: we weren't ready then, and we're not much more ready now.
That's not as bleak a note to end on as you may think, because it means that change is beginning. You've learned lessons, no doubt, in the last year. If you haven't yet, take a listen to some of the lessons learned from the experts we interviewed as part of our Take 5: An Inventory Series podcast in 2020.
More news is available in our Five To Save emails. Get in on all the... fun?