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caption: Mike Gaunt of Seattle celebrates after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine from volunteer registered nurse Amy Rioux on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at Island Drug in Oak Harbor. "I don't want to go crazy and think I have a new lease on life, but it kind of feels like it," said Gaunt. "It's like Christmas."
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Mike Gaunt of Seattle celebrates after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine from volunteer registered nurse Amy Rioux on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at Island Drug in Oak Harbor. "I don't want to go crazy and think I have a new lease on life, but it kind of feels like it," said Gaunt. "It's like Christmas."
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Vaccinated and ready to celebrate? Not so fast.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is expected to announce which counties will have to fall back a phase in the state's reopening plan.

King County is one of at least a dozen counties that is not currently meeting the benchmarks to remain in the more loose Phase 3.

That means the county could go back to stricter requirements under Phase - perhaps most notably, a move back to just 25 percent capacity for indoor business, like dining.

University of Washington epidemiologist Judith Malmgren says going back to Phase 2 wouldn't be the end of the world, even for business owners.

And when she spoke to KUOW's Angela King, she said the state should actually consider remodeling the phases of the plan to reflect our current reality - including particularly pathogenic variants now in the community and affecting younger people.

"The messaging before was that children and young adults - you're OK, even if you get sick, it's going to be mild," Malmgren says. "But now, the whole game has shifted. We're in a difference scenario."

A scenario that has not been tested before, of course.

Meanwhile, masking recommendations from the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are loosening; the CDC now says fully vaccinated people can forego a mask outside.

Malmgren says it's confusing, this "experiment" we're living through.

If you're not sure what to believe, she says do what officials have said all along: Wear a mask around others, don't congregate in large - particularly mask-less - groups and get vaccinated.