Some health experts wonder if federal officials acted too quickly on loosening the mask wear recommendations, which would allow people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to stop using this protection in most settings. Interior and exterior. And they are suggesting that state and local leaders exercise a little more caution in relaxing these guidelines.
Dr. John Swartzberg, clinical professor emeritus in the division of infectious diseases at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, explained: “There is scientific evidence to support changing our rules. On the other hand, I’m surprised they did it so soon. I would have liked to have another month where it was observed that the numbers continued to decrease ”.
If California starts allowing fully vaccinated people not to wear masks in stores, who would verify that individuals without the protection have actually been inoculated? Will supermarkets really be interested in checking the vaccination cards at the entrance?
“I cannot conceive of the supermarkets confirming that you have been inoculated. It just won’t happen, ”Swartzberg said.
The United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents 1.3 million retail and essential food workers, also questioned the move from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“While we all share the desire to get back to normal without masks, today’s CDC guidance is confusing and does not consider how it will affect essential workers who face frequent exposure to people who are not vaccinated and refuse to wear. protection, ”said the union’s international president, Marc Perrone, in a statement. “Essential workers are still forced to play mask-wearing police with clients. Are they now supposed to become the vaccination police?
Supermarkets, however, may choose to simply maintain a mandatory mask use policy for service.
Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, director of UC San Francisco’s department of epidemiology and biostatistics, tweeted that the science used in the CDC recommendation is sound, “but who is the worst affected in the implementation of such policies?” . Some of the people least likely to be vaccinated in the United States, he said, are working-class individuals who have been too busy working or caring for their family to receive the antigen. “Are we failing essential workers once again?” He asked.
Some fear that the CDC measure is counterproductive and ends up normalizing the lack of facial covering, without the need to be vaccinated. That could end up hurting anyone most likely to remain uninoculated, such as low-income residents, as well as Black and Latino Americans, some of whom want to get vaccinated but have not been able to do so due to various factors, such as feeling that they might miss work due to side effects or the inability to obtain the antigen from a trusted location, reasons mentioned in a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey.
Other experts thought the CDC made a good decision and believe the new guideline will push people to get vaccinated, as long as they can see its benefits. “I know many on Twitter are saying that the non-inoculated will simply say they were offended. Some will, but many will not, now they will see vaccination as something of more value and will seek it, ”tweeted Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration.
Swartzberg has criticized state officials for reopening the economy too quickly twice last year, actions that were followed by spikes in infections. The question is whether the end of the mask-wearing mandate will cause California to “fall for the third time.” It probably won’t happen, but it can’t be ruled out, he stressed.
Swartzberg said he prefers an idea put forward by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this week, who proposed two different ways on how to loosen mask-wearing mandates in California. His second idea, mentioned Wednesday, suggests eliminating the guidelines for using protection outdoors next month, but perhaps retaining the mandates indoors for a little longer.
“Instead of taking giant steps, as I think the CDC took today, it seems to me that we should take small steps toward the same goal,” Swartzberg said. “In the end we will get there. But I think it would be safer if we are more cautious ”.
UC San Francisco infectious disease specialist Dr. Monica Gandhi has been among the experts who have urged the CDC to act faster to abolish the mask guidelines and were shocked at how quickly federal officials acted Thursday. . He welcomed the news and said science supports the new recommendations.
He explained that ending mandates requiring fully inoculated people to wear a mask will provide an incentive for those who may have postponed vaccination.
“People need incentives now,” Gandhi said. “I think this will help people who are hesitant to get vaccinated.”
A challenge for local governments is that the CDC seemed to have made their announcement without making much of what was coming up, and the result is that state and local officials are left with the difficult task of how to tackle the issue of who it is. responsible for identifying vaccinated people and who, as a result, can stop wearing masks.
Los Angeles officials were caught off guard by the details of the CDC announcement, and it was nine hours before the governor’s office issued a statement on the new guidelines, saying in a tweet Thursday night that it was reviewing the guide and continuing to “encourage all eligible Californians to get vaccinated as we hope to fully reopen on June 15.”
“We still have millions of people who are not inoculated, who have not even received a dose,” Los Angeles public health director Bárbara Ferrer said Thursday. “The numbers may be small, but every day there are individuals who become infected.”
As a result, it would be prudent, Ferrer said, to take the time to ensure that there are rules in place to keep people as safe as possible. Questions officials must answer include what these new measures would mean for employees who, for whatever reason, cannot get vaccinated. The solution, Ferrer said, should not be to create an increased risk of spreading the virus among uninoculated individuals at a time when Los Angeles is trying to keep the number of cases low and continue to reopen businesses and expand capacity.
The objective is to find rules “so that everyone feels quite comfortable that we are not having many exhibitions that would be unnecessary,” explained Ferrer. He added that, at least in the near future, “it may not be possible to end all restrictions everywhere.”
On CNN, Dr. Leana Wen, former Baltimore health commissioner, was concerned that the CDC move would make it easier for people who never wanted to get vaccinated or wear masks to now enter stores without wearing the protection, increasing the risk for those who cannot be inoculated, such as children too young to be vaccinated, or immunosuppressed individuals who are not fully protected by the antigen. “Now we are putting them at risk, and I think it takes us even further away from achieving herd immunity,” Wen said.
These are the basics of the CDC mask wear guide:
Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing.
Non-inoculated or partially vaccinated people are still required to wear protection in virtually all indoor settings and in most outdoor settings when interacting with people outside their home who may not be vaccinated. (Members of a single household of uninoculated individuals may be without a mask inside if all others are vaccinated.)
The use of protection is still required for all those who travel by public transport, including buses and trains, as well as for those who are in airports and stations.
The rules also apply to hospitals, prisons, homeless facilities, and other institutional settings.
State and local regulations may be more stringent and will remain in effect.
Unvaccinated people should still wear a mask and inoculate immediately.
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