Experts are divided on the new CDC mask guidance. Here's what they're saying.
April 30, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 23.9%. 3 min read.
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: U.S. President Joe Biden removes his mask before speaking about updated CDC mask guidance on the North Lawn of the White House on April 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden announced updated CDC guidance, saying vaccinated Americans do not need to wear a mask outside when in small groups. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
New mask guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week has divided experts and fueled a new debate about the best way to steer Americans out of the pandemic.
The CDC is telling unvaccinated people that they still need to wear a mask at such gatherings.
Some public health experts have cast the new guidelines as too cautious as health officials pivot to reaching vaccine-hesitant Americans, while others point to concerning variants and the possibility of a winter surge as reason to keep encouraging widespread mask use.
President Joe Biden came into office pledging to encourage -- and, where he could, enforce -- mask mandates, but now is in the position of encouraging people to get vaccinated so they can stop wearing masks outside as the US moves toward a return to normalcy.
We have the new variants that are making the vaccines less effective, but the masks do protect from these variants.
And that's very important that we need to reinforce that message, that even people who are vaccinated, who listened to us and did what we asked them to do, they're more likely to listen to us to wear a mask.
You're vaccinated but now you need to wear your mask outdoors and indoors. ' I don't understand it.
What I mean is, specifically, I think it's a really good thing that the CDC is finally differentiating between what it is that fully vaccinated people could be doing versus what is it that you cannot yet do safely if you're not vaccinated.
I think they need to very clearly give the benefits of vaccination.
I also think, though, that at this point, people are beginning to ask the question, what's the point of getting vaccinated?
And so to just provide one-off guidelines without the context of how we're doing as a country in terms of vaccinating the American people and when we expect transmission to go down with the understanding that this current guidance is version 2. 0, and as we hit 60% of Americans being vaccinated, then we'll be in version 3. 0 because the numbers will start to decline in terms transmission due to vaccination.
Mokdad: My concern is the following: People will remember one thing -- I don't need to wear a mask and that's my biggest concern.
I think people can handle -- many months ago, they can handle the very basic edict of you need two out of three things: masks, distancing and outdoors.
One key question about the new mask guidance is whether it provides enough incentive for people who are hesitant to get vaccinated to go through with inoculation.
We're avoiding doing our job by giving in, saying don't wear your mask if you get vaccinated.
Wen: The longer they wait to provide that kind of clear guidance, the more it is that people are returning back to their lives regardless of vaccination.
If that's where Americans are, and given how effective the vaccine is, one needs to ask, is it worth it to give the guidance that vaccination replaces masking for those who otherwise would not get vaccinated?
I think most Americans have pretty much figured out that this is what they're going to do anyway, at least on the vaccinated side.
It would've been far more effective if they said, 'look, we think if we can fully vaccinate the American people by the summer, then life will get back to what it looked like in 2019 with some exceptions. '
One concern about the new guidance is that there's still no system for distinguishing who is vaccinated and who isn't as more people unmask.
I think that things would be very different if we had some type of enforced proof of vaccination.