Advertisement

Rossen Reports: Can you ditch your mask after vaccination?

There's major movement on the COVID-19 vaccine, and here's what life could be like this spring. Plus, moving past the election, the country is looking toward a possible second stimulus. Here's what you need to know.

Advertisement

We're waiting for so many things to get us through this pandemic and you need answers.

There's major movement on the COVID-19 vaccine, and here's what life could be like this spring. Plus, moving past the election, the country is looking toward a possible second stimulus.

Advertisement

We spoke with experts to get you the latest.

Here to break down the medical side is Dr. Amesh Adalja from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

And tackling your money is Pete Dunn. He's the host of the "Pete the Planner Show" and CEO of "Your Money Line" and "Hey, Money."

Check out our panel discussion below.

Jeff Rossen: We know reported cases are going up, but there's also more testing. Are hospitalizations going up too? And what about deaths?

Adalja: Hospitalizations are going up. We've heard about places like El Paso, Texas, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Utah … even in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I'm talking to you from.

Hospitals are at record number of cases of COVID. Much higher than we had during the peak. So this is something that isn't a result of more testing. It's a result of more transmission. That's why the percent positivity of tests — which is a really important marker — has been going up in many different states because these outbreaks are uncontrolled.

Rossen: The projected timeline on the vaccine basically has it available to anyone who wants it in April. Which is amazing, just before the summer. How long does the vaccine last? How often will we have to get it going forward for the rest of our lives?

Adalja: We assume that immunity is probably going to be at least a year. We have to follow people who get vaccinated in what's called "natural history studies" to see how long it lasts and if you need a booster. We have boosters for many shots, like for example, tetanus shots. So it isn't uncommon to need one but we need to do the studies in order to know that so I think it's too early to say.

Rossen: Once I get vaccinated, am I able to ditch my mask, forget about the social distancing and go back to regular life? When you hear 94% effectiveness in the Moderna vaccine at least, it makes you feel like you can throw the mask away forever. Is that the case once I've vaccinated?

Adalja: Once you're vaccinated, you likely are impervious to infection if that's what we're seeing with the Modern and the Pfizer vaccine. If that data bears out. I do think it's going to take some time for the population to get across that herd immunity threshold so we may still have mask guidance that's out there until enough of the population gets vaccinated but I do think this is the pathway to getting back to what it looked like prior to COVID-19.

Rossen: Pete, I want to turn to you and move to the financial side of this pandemic. We're waiting on a stimulus bill. I feel like it's a broken record! Everyone kept saying, "Wait until after the election. That's when Washington will come together." Okay … we're a couple weeks after. Now what? Are there other things on their agenda that need to get done first – how is this not a first priority?

Dunn: Well it's no surprise. They're still arguing who the president is going to be in January, Jeff. I think they need to work that out. To officially call President-elect Biden, President-elect Biden. I think that's the issue. I don't expect any stimulus until early February. That is to suggest Congress can potentially come together after the new class is there in January. And then at that point in time, we could see some relief.

But in the meantime, I'm pretty worried about a couple really important elements of the economy. I'm concerned about restaurants, number one. Restaurants and entertainment venues. I live in a beautiful midwestern city and every single week, a beloved restaurant is going under at this point in time. There is no relief in sight and that needs to change.

The second thing I'm really concerned about is the eviction moratorium that's expiring on Dec. 31. That was actually a CDC action. There was no financial impact behind it. Meaning neither landlords nor tenants were given any money over these last few months. Yet, landlords aren't getting rent from tenants. And on Jan. 1 at 12:01 a.m., they're able to finally take action and say – "Okay, well look you've not paid me for the last few months, you need to get out. And if I do let you stay — by the way — you owe me all this back-rent."

I think more than anything, from a financial perspective, Jeff – that is the ticking time bomb right now.