Mask Mandates Are Ending, But Don’t Throw Away Yours Quite Yet!

‘This is Not Permission for Widespread Removal of Masks,’ Says CDC

By Jonathan Spira on 16 May 2021
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You heard it right: The CDC last week said that vaccinated people don’t need to don face masks in most instances be it indoors or out, but – and there’s always a but – this pronouncement was fraught with misinterpretation.  Still, no matter what the local ordinances are regarding face coverings where you are, it would be premature to ditch your face masks just yet.

It’s important not to infer that the pandemic is over, or to assume that mask policies might yet be reversed in the future.  As I pointed out in my essay “The Pandemic Is NOT Over, Dumbasses,” the world is truly a global village and the news dispatches from India are dire – and having an impact on many parts of the world including, most recently, the United Kingdom.

The guidance reflects that the United States – as a whole – is in a far better place than it was even two months ago, and it also reflects the decreased transmission we are seeing now and expect to see more of in the ensuing months.  This doesn’t, of course, mean there won’t be mask requirements come fall or winter, however.

CAUGHT OFF GUARD

It was, of course, the suddenness of the guidance that caught people – be they government officials, business executives, or ordinary American citizens – off-guard, and policymakers and companies created a kind of patchwork quilt to deal with the new policies.

As a result of the confusion, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spent what remained of the week underscoring the fact that vaccinated individuals are at low risk of catching or spreading the coronavirus, but – and there’s that pesky but again – the future of mask mandates would largely be under the aegis of local jurisdictions and private businesses.

“This is not permission for widespread removal of masks,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Sunday on an ABC news program. “We were going to get to the point in the pandemic where the vaccinated could take off their masks.”

The CDC did take pains to point out the many exceptions where vaccinated people should in fact where a mask: this includes while riding public transportation such as planes, trains, or buses, or when visiting hospitals, nursing homes, or prisoners.

At the time the CDC announced the policy change, over half the states in the Union – some 26 plus the District of Columbia – had statewide mask mandates in place. When the news broke, many states – the list includes Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont , Virginia, and Washington – moved to adopt the new guidance, while others said they were reviewing the updated guidance.

One governor – Jay Inslee of Washington, a Democrat – was quick to praise the new rules, calling out the incentive to get vaccinated implicit in the guidance.

“People who have been annoyed by this mask, it’s a really good reason to get vaccinated,” the governor said. “This is a ticket to freedom.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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