So he did his part to ensure his safety and that of his community: most of the time he stayed at home, wore his mask and only had a group of close people with whom he interacted.
“I was one of those people, the second the CDC said that vaccinated people didn’t need masks on the outside or inside, I was like ‘Hallelujah’,” said McCullough to CNN.
But with Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise again and US officials suddenly reimposing restrictions after a summer of semi-normality, McCullough and many other vaccinated Americans are growing increasingly angry with those who refuse the vaccine.
“I did what I had to do,” McCullough told CNN. “Now these people who make this selfish decision are going to put the consequences on me.”
McCullough says he’s now back to bring his mask with him when he goes out and fears his community will soon face a new set of tough restrictions.
“The repercussions are going to fall on people like me, who have taken their responsibilities,” he said. “And it’s maddening.”
“I just feel like it’s not going to end”
“If you’re not vaccinated you’re not as smart as I thought you were,” Biden said.
Tim Hildreth, 39, who lives in nearby Powder Springs, said it was frustrating to feel like he was stepping out of the normalcy he briefly tasted after being vaccinated.
“I’m done with these mandates to protect people who won’t go out of their way to do it themselves,” Hildreth said.
He said he was working from home during the pandemic and his young daughter was always masked when she went to school. Hildreth got the vaccine because he was eager to return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle and be able to attend concerts and sporting events.
But now, in the midst of a new wave, he says, “it just feels like it’s not going to stop.”
Expert: It makes sense to be angry with the return of directives
Experts say many are expected to feel angry at the return of mask measures.
“It’s very difficult to pull someone away from the finish line when it feels like they finally have the ribbon in sight,” Mitch Prinstein, scientific director of the American Psychological Association, told CNN.
“I think we can also understand anger in a context of exhaustion, anxiety, uncertainty and, you know, a serious division of ideology as well,” Prinstein added. “These factors are very real and of great concern at this time.”
Jenny Tolford, who lives in a rural community in northern California, said the thought of not being able to get back to normal anytime soon is “exhausting.”
“It seemed like we were starting to get the hang of it,” Tolford said. “It’s just frustrating, it’s exhausting, to feel like we’re just going back and we’re just sort of, now it looks like we’re just spinning around the drain.”
Tolford said that although she received the vaccine, the Covid-19 measurements and vaccinations are a point of division in the largely conservative community in which she lives. There are residents who “will make you ashamed to wear a mask,” she said, and others who have received the vaccine “take it easy.”
The refusal of the Covid-19 vaccine has increased among far-right Republicans in recent months, according to data from a survey released Wednesday by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Interfaith Youth Core. About 46% of Republicans who trust far-right news the most said they would refuse to be vaccinated, compared with 31% who said the same in March.
The refusal to get vaccinated in his community, Tolford said, is fueled by misinformation on social media.
“It’s not freedom”
While Tolford said she understood people’s feelings about being forced to shoot, she said many people consider their decision to refuse to be a “constitutional type of freedom” when it comes to This is in fact a community public health problem.
“Why should those who don’t seem to want to do what’s best for the public now just benefit from being open again, when they’re just broadcasting the Delta variant?” ” she said.
“Those of us who have been vaccinated, we want to live our lives,” Tolford said. “The way to do it was to get the shot and we did and now you still don’t want to put others first and put the greatest good of society first so maybe you have to. just stay home. Maybe it’s about time you can’t do it all because you don’t want to participate. “
Hildreth and McCullough also support the idea of companies requiring vaccines.
“Personal freedom is really overblown in this country, to the point where people are put right in jeopardy,” McCullough said. “For people to think they have this authority and autonomy, just to put others at risk, is infuriating.”
He said he feared the virus would continue to mutate and eventually become much worse than the current circulating variants.
“It’s not the freedom that you make that decision that then impacts my freedom,” he said. “It’s not freedom at all.”
CNN’s Jen Christensen and Deidre McPhillips contributed to this report.