Politics

CDC Starts To Turn Against Mask Mandates: 7 Things To Know


Since the dawn of the covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised mask-wearing as an important way to combat the deadly virus. Now that guidance may be shifting, according to recent remarks from the agency’s director.

Here are seven things to know about the CDC changing course on mask mandates.

1. The CDC said it will base decisions to lift mask mandates on hospitalizations

During a press conference on Wednesday, Feb. 16, Dr. Rochelle Walensky told the public that the CDC was considering changing course on the mask mandates depending on how hospitalizations trend.

“We must consider hospital capacity as an additional important barometer,” Walensky said. “We want to give people a break from things like mask-wearing when these metrics are better, and then have the ability to reach for them again should things worsen,” she said.

2. Current CDC guidance recommends mask-wearing indoors

The CDC currently recommends everyone age 2 and up wear a mask indoors while in public spaces as well as outdoors in areas of high transmission while in close contact with others if they so choose.

“We are looking at an overview of much of our guidance — and masking in all settings will be a part of that,” Walensky continued. “We’ll soon put guidance in place.”

3. The comments come after omicron cases started to trend downward

Walensky’s comments came after the uptick in covid-19 infections from the Omicron variant began subsiding and states began lifting mask mandates. They include California, New York, Washington, New Mexico, Illinois and Massachusetts.

4. Dr. Anthony Fauci weighed in on states lifting mask mandates

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, weighed in on the matter during a recent interview with MSNBC.

“If you look at the trajectory downward of the cases and the hospitalization, its clearly going in the right direction,” Fauci said.

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“Obviously the CDC still now recommends masking because of the degree of infection that we’re seeing, but what I believe the states are doing is anticipating that we are going in the right direction and they feel they might as well try to get back to some form of normality by pulling back on restrictions,” Fauci continued.

5. Dr. Fauci cautioned against premature changes

Fauci cautioned against “declaring victory prematurely,” but noted it was “entirely understandable why the states at the local level are looking at what their own local situation is and are making decisions.”

Walenksy said people can still wear masks if they choose to despite the CDC considering lifting mask-wearing guidance in the coming weeks.

“As we have fewer cases, people will become more comfortable with taking off their mask, but we will certainly want people to have the flexibility to wear one if they so choose,” Walensky said.

6. Denmark lifted mask mandates in early February

In early February, Denmark became the first major country to lift its covid-19 restrictions, including mask mandates.

“This marks the transition to a new era for all of us, because Denmark will once again be an open society, completely open,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said. “We dare to believe that we are now through the critical phase.”

Now Denmark is leading the world for covid-19 infections worldwide, according to Yahoo News.

7. Some point to Denmark as a cautionary tale

Some have expressed concern about the easing of mask restrictions, noting cases are spiking in Denmark again.

“Not looking good in Denmark,” scientist Dr. Eric Tapol tweeted on Feb. 13, along with a chart showing the rise in cases. “Deaths are now 67% of peak with a steep ascent,” he added in a follow-up tweet.

Others chimed in with the same sentiment. “Too soon,” tweeted user @DrKAte4Kids, who identifies herself as a pediatrician on Twitter.

PHOTO: A covid healthcare worker with covid patient Cedric Daniels, 37, of Gonzales, La., at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Baton Rouge, Aug. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Ted Jackson)





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