But because much of the country is still unvaccinated, some experts say the move came too quickly and has resulted in many more Americans now discarding their masks than the CDC recommends.
“I think the CDC wanted to say something really good, which means these vaccines are really protective,” CNN emergency physician and medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen said Sunday. “The thing is, however, that there were unintended consequences of their actions.”
“We have seen governors and mayors and business owners drop their mandates, and as a result we have now made life much safer for people who have not been vaccinated, for immunocompromised people and for young children who cannot yet be vaccinated.” “Add Wen.
Emergency physician Dr. Megan Rani also expressed concern over the weekend about Americans who have not yet fired due to access challenges, and how they could be affected by local leaders and business leaders who are raising mask requirements.
“I would urge businesses to keep these mandates in their companies for as long as possible to protect their workers,” she told CNN. “This is a particular capital problem. We know that the people from Black and Brown in the United States, who are most often our frontline employees with public jobs, are also the ones who have had the most difficult access to vaccines.”
“Not everyone has to take off their mask”
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Valensky told CNN on Sunday that the agency’s new guidelines do not mean that every American who has been vaccinated should take off their masks.
For example, Walensky said that people with immunocompromised and others at higher risk should consult their doctors before deciding to stop wearing a mask.
“Not everyone has to tear off their mask because our guidelines have changed,” she said. “If you are concerned, please consult your doctor before removing your mask.”
Walensky also said that different communities in the United States have different levels of vaccination and different cases of Covid-19, and people should take this into account when deciding whether to disguise themselves or not.
She added that the CDC wants companies to ensure that they help their employees get vaccinated to keep them safe.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration extended Pfizer’s emergency use permit for Covid-19 to include people aged 12 to 15. Children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine in the United States.
Children who have not been vaccinated against the virus will still have to wear masks in the classroom in the fall, Dr Anthony Fauci said on Friday.
“The unvaccinated group or the primary school children – nothing has changed for them,” Fauci said.
The CDC misled the messages, the expert said
A key part is missing that could help make these guidelines clearer for Americans and prevent some communities from having to rely on the honor system, an expert said.
“The CDC did the science right, but they confused the messages wrong,” Dr. Jonathan Rainer, a professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, told CNN on Sunday.
While those who are fully vaccinated are “basically immune” to the virus, Rainer said, the question is how communities keep others protected – such as children who are not yet able to get the vaccine, or immunocompromised Americans who are still risk.
“Ideally, the way to protect them is to know who has been vaccinated and who has not been vaccinated, and the unvaccinated will still be required to wear a mask. And here comes the policy,” Rainer said. “If we had a very simple electronic system from the beginning, you basically have a pass on your phone that turns green after you’ve been vaccinated, companies and places all over the country might say, ‘Good news, if you have a green card, you do not need to wear a mask. “
“We don’t have that, so how do we move forward?”
The instructions issued last week, Valenski said, are only a first step in helping local and state leaders make their own recommendations.
The agency is asking people to “take their health into their own hands” and get vaccinated so that they do not continue to be at risk, Valensky said in an interview with ABC in “This Week”.
“For the unvaccinated, our policy has not changed,” she added. “We were going to get to a place in this pandemic where vaccinated people can take off their masks. We are happy to be there with the science we have, and now we have to take this fundamental step, which is entirely science-based and we understand what that means we are opening up the whole country. “
CNN’s Naomi Thomas and Lauren Mascarenha contributed to the report.