Epidemiologists have begun to embrace it again.

They are making requests, gathering outdoors with friends and decorating their hair more than before.

In a new informal survey by The New York Times this month, 723 U.S. epidemiologists now answered questions about life and how they are doing at this stage of the pandemic, when vaccines have spread and cases are declining nationwide. , but herd immunity is not assured and Covid-19 remains a threat.

We have regularly examined these public health experts during the pandemic. As a team, they remain conservative about how to behave safely, and are more cautious than Americans. But the growing willingness to return to more prepandemic activities shows that those who are still aware of what could go wrong are also becoming more optimistic.

“Vaccines have given me freedom,” said Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, who heads the epidemiology division at the University of Minnesota. “I was very strict all year, but now I’m coming back, slowly, to life.”

What made them most comfortable, they said, were vaccines. “I’m sorry very hopefully, with the opportunity to control the Covid-19 vaccine as a result of public exposure, ”said Lindsey Ferraro, a graduate in epidemiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

When enough Americans are vaccinated and infections are reduced, they say the country can take a new phase when it comes to minimizing the risk of coronavirus measures and becoming more concerned about making choices based on one’s own risk tolerance and health profile.

“I balance the risks very well with the benefits,” said Dr. Luther-King Fasehun and a doctor of epidemiology. Temple University student. “I am grateful for my master’s degree in health economics training. Some of the benefits are almost always worth it. “

Above all, it was the advice of epidemiologists to stick to a few more measures, especially with regard to internal activities or those with large groups of unknowns.

“There is a high chance of unexpected problems with the Covid pandemic moving as if it would no longer be a threat,” said epidemiologist Jana Mossey, who retired from Drexel University.

In order to carry out certain activities, federal health officials have begun to update their advice to the people and allow them more freedom. The orientation has been vague, so we asked epidemiologists to expand.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully integrated people can come together with other vaccinated people without taking action, but did not specify how many homes they can do at one time.

In the survey, many epidemiologists said they would recommend limiting these meetings to two homes at once. But a large number have said that larger encounters between vaccines are fine.

“There are no magic numbers here,” said Harvard epidemiologist Noelle Cocoros. “It’s important to set some guidelines, but as soon as you put a number on something, it becomes a gospel for many people and causes them to understand the danger.”

Some said the problem was not about the effectiveness of the vaccine, but that all the people at the big meeting were fully immersed in knowing and trusting.

“The people who are vaccinated are fairly safe,” said Maria Glymour, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco. “If you are know everyone has been vaccinated, that’s fine. I’d like to worry with a big team, obviously you can’t know that. ”

Those who say vaccinated people should continue to limit the number of people they see inside the home have indicated that vaccines are not 100 percent effective, and the more people stay in a space, the more likely they are to fail vaccines. Many said they would be hesitant to gather inside the house until the children were also vaccinated. (The FDA has approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 this week.)

“It’s not the only size,” said Alicia Riley, a sociologist and epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, pointing to an unofficial version of the profession’s slogan: It’s Century. “Security depends on the local levels of community transmission.”

The CDC also said that people no longer need masks because they are out and about and can maintain a physical distance from others, such as on a walk, whether they are vaccinated or not. Most epidemiologists agreed.

“This policy has always been stupid,” said Joe Lewnard, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who advocated the exercise without masks.

Others disagreed: “Even with the vaccine, we need to be concerned about some of the variants that make vaccines more effective,” said Lorraine Dean, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins. “I’m still pretty much going to wear a mask.”

It was further said that masks were necessary in outdoor situations where distance could not be maintained, such as picnicking or hiking. A quarter said masks were always necessary.

“Always think about securing two out of three: masks, distances, outside, especially if it’s among people who aren’t vaccinated,” said Eyal Oren, an epidemiologist at the University of San Diego.

With regard to outdoor activities of large crowds that are difficult to maintain, as in a concert or protest, almost all epidemiologists agreed that masks were necessary, regardless of the state of vaccination. Some suggested continuing to avoid such events if possible. “It’s almost certain that vaccines and unvaccinated people will be mixed up in an event like this,” said epidemiologist Steve Ostroff with a private counseling office.

Deciding how to act in a pandemic remains complicated. But risk calculations have begun to change. In the end, pandemic decisions for people who are vaccinated could become less of a protection for society as a whole and a risk to oneself.

“I think it’s time to shift the focus when all high-risk groups are included to let them decide for themselves what the risks are,” said Anders Huitfeldt, an epidemiologist at the University of Southern Denmark.

Some epidemiologists say this change can happen as soon as individuals are vaccinated: “The door should be open to all you can do before you get vaccinated,” said epidemiologist Zachary Binney Emory.

Many have said that coronavirus measures are important for protecting high-risk people and slowing the spread of the virus, even for people who are vaccinated: “While I am comfortable taking personal risks, I would not accept risks that could harm others,” said Kevin Andresen. Covid’s response to the Colorado Department of Public Health. “The hidden measure protects everyone, not just me.”

Assessing and balancing risk compensation is a key part of the training of epidemiologists. But even among epidemiologists, the comfort of risk varies from individual to individual. In particular, 71 percent of the epidemiologists who completed our survey said the risks are very or somewhat dangerous, especially with respect to Covid-19.

“I live in Hawaii and dive freely with sharks,” said F. DeWolfe Miller, an epidemiologist at the University of Hawaii. “Preventing Covid transmission is another matter.”

Respondents said the risk tolerance for Covid-19 was based on data from daily life, the need to work outside the home, or the health status of family members.

“If I wanted to keep them healthy and not have young children who aren’t vaccinated, I would like to be at risk, who need to be in day care to continue working,” said Stanford epidemiologist Stephanie Leonard.

For some questions, changes in individual risk tolerance caused a large difference in responses. The epidemiologists who described themselves as at risk were nine points more likely than those who were more comfortable with the risk to say that vaccinated people should limit their internal gatherings to another home where they were inserted, e.g.

On other questions, the experts were more unified: almost all of them stay away from indoor gyms and say that masks are necessary in large crowds, even outside.

The day’s work also had an impact on the risk they wanted to take. We surveyed two different groups. Members of the Association for Epidemiological Research work primarily in academic research. The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists works for governments that are trying to decide how to rebalance business and schools, especially while protecting public health. The last group members had to be more comfortable accepting some sort of risk.

Among the differences was that government epidemiologists had 19 percentage points more than academics who had worked in a shared office in the past month. 8% of academics said that fully embedded people still should not avoid socializing indoors, while only one government epidemiologist has said so.

Epidemiologists are well aware that risk is inherent in many things that people do. More than at any time in the last year, most feel hopeful because Covid-19 will eventually become another danger in our daily lives, but it doesn’t paralyze us.

“We’ve all learned how strong we are,” said Jane Clougherty, who teaches public health at Drexel University. “This is also going to happen, and we’re finally seeing evidence.”