2434: Vaccine Guidance
Title text: I can't wait until I'm fully vaccinated and can safely send chat messages in all caps again.
On the day this comic was published, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines relating to COVID-19, lifting many of the existing restrictions for people who have been fully vaccinated for two weeks. Megan, speaking as a CDC spokesperson, is introducing these new guidelines in a video press conference. However, the other participants in the press conference quickly start asking about actions that have little or nothing to do with the vaccine, some of which would be dangerous whether COVID-19 was a risk or not. It's possible that they do not remember life before the pandemic very well, similarly to comic #2391, e.g. Megan missing scuba-diving without a mask.
Blondie asks whether it would be okay to visit neighbors and drink milk directly from the carton. In most Western cultures, drinking directly from a container that could be shared with others (such as a milk carton) is considered unsafe, due to the risk of diseases being transmitted, and generally gross, as saliva and other biological material is passed that way. To drink directly from your own milk carton is considered crass, to do so with someone else's carton would be seen as unacceptable. While these risks are arguably worse during the pandemic, it was unacceptable before the pandemic and will presumably be so afterward.
Science Girl asks whether it would be okay to ride a bike down the stairs of a family member's house, which has a severe risk of injury (and could damage the wheels of the bicycle, although modern bicycle wheels are surprisingly resilient). This is possibly a reference to a scene from Disney's Frozen where protagonist Anna (aged 9 at the time) does this to try to get her sister to leave her room.
White Hat follows up asking whether he can get a horse, and whether it would help for him and/or the horse to wear masks. This has basically no relation to anything else that was said (but perhaps he was promised a pony when he got vaccinated). The CDC still recommends masks for humans when in public; however, face masks are not generally made for horses. In response, Megan gives up trying to answer the increasingly irrelevant questions by saying "Thank you all for coming," and hanging up.
In the title text, Randall mentions that when he is fully vaccinated, he will be able to text people in ALL CAPS. This is generally used to indicate that the typer is shouting, which can spread Covid-19 aerosol particles and cause infection when done in person. However, when texting, there is no risk of spreading diseases that infect humans electronically, and the risk of either spreading computer viruses is unaffected by whether capital or lowercase letters are used, so this is, at best, an unnecessary precaution, and perhaps even counterproductive: the risk that germs on the keypad's shift key could infect the person touching it would be greater repeatedly shifting back and forth between capital and lowercase letters than typing in all caps. (However, it could be a good idea to get in the habit of not responding to others angrily, both to be polite and to not spread respiratory diseases by shouting when meeting in person).
- [Megan's face is seen at the bottom of the panel with the CDC-logo slightly above her and to the left; it is a black rectangle with the letters in white, and with a white jigly line to the left of the first C.]
- Megan: Our new guidance: Fully vaccinated people can gather privately with no masks or distancing, and can visit with unvaccinated low-risk people in one household.
- Megan: Any questions?
- Logo: CDC
- [Blondie, Hairy and Megan are seen at the bottom of the panel in three separate rectangular panels with Blondie and Hairy's panels at the left above one another. Those panels are almost square and also smaller than Megan's, more rectangular panel to the right of theirs. This panel is centered at the middle of those two panels to the left, and the logo is still visible. It is also shown that Megan is standing behind a lectern. Blondie, above Hairy, is the one asking questions to Megan.]
- Blondie: If my neighbors and I are all vaccinated, can I visit them unmasked and drink milk straight from the jug in their fridge?
- Megan: I...You can visit, yes.
- Blondie: And the jug thing?
- Megan: ...Next question?
- Logo: CDC
- [In a frame-less panel there are two panels at the bottom, with Science Girl in the largest to the left and Megan in the smaller to the right, with the logo still visible, but unreadable still the lectern is shown.]
- Science Girl: I'm fully vaccinated. Can I ride my bike in my sister-in-law's house?
- Megan: In her house?
- Science Girl: Like, down the stairs.
- Megan: I guess? You should at least wear a helmet.
- Science Girl: Even if she's not high-risk?
- Megan: Any other questions?
- [White Hat is in a rectangular box at the bottom of the panel. Megan is replying from off-panel to the right from a star burst at the edge of the panel. At the bottom there is a message in a black rectangle with white text.]
- White Hat: I'm two weeks past my second dose.
- White Hat: Can I get a horse?
- Megan: Thank you all for coming.
- White Hat: What if I wear a mask?
- White Hat: What if the horse does?
- Message: Meeting ended by host.
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