FOR THE WEEK OF JUNE 14, 2021
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The season that officially starts this coming weekend will look, sound and feel much more like a real summer than the 2020 version. The Covid pandemic isn't gone, but rising vaccination rates and declining infection numbers make its safer to gather – especially outside – at stadiums, amusement parks, pools, concerts, camps and other activity sites. With many states lifting capacity limits and other businesses restrictions, festivals, fairs, movies and theaters are returning just in time for summer vacation. More air passengers are traveling again and three U.S. cruise lines resume trips to Alaska Seattle in late July.
The federal Centers for Disease Control urges that everyone aged 12 years and older "be vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as possible to keep from getting and spreading” the virus that dramatically changed how we learned, worked and played since March 2020. More than half of Americans are fully vaccinated. "With parents being vaccinated, we know that our kids are way more protected than they were last summer because most of their transmission to kids have come from household contacts," says Dr. Tara Narula, a CBS News medical correspondent. "So the risk to our kids is much lower." Still, precautions such as masks, distancing and repeated hand-sanitizing are advisable in public situations.
Lollapalooza, a music festival that was cancelled last year, returns July 29 to Grant Park in Chicago for four days at full capacity. As our semi-isolation ends, the phrase "Hot Vax Summer" is a thing. "Kids need to be able to be kids," says Mac McCullough, associate professor of health policy at Arizona State University. "Outdoor activity isn't perfectly safe, but its benefits are likely to outweigh its risks across an entire population."
Entertainment executive says: "Music fans are now ready to get out there to make up for lost time." -- Jeff Cuellar, festival director at AC Entertainment agency in Knoxville, Tenn.
College student says: "I'm going to some festivals in like three different states and a trip to Mexico, hopefully. It’ll be great to have some sort of normalcy after last summer." – Zara Nyhus, University of Illinois senior
Journalist says: "American teenagers, after a year spent largely at home, are eager for a summer of fun, friendship, romance, release." -- Sophie Haigney, New York Times Magazine