CDC’s Mask Guidance Will Backfire

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, and leading transmittable illness specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci, affirm prior to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., July 20, 2021.
(J. Scott Applewhite/Reuters)

Begin with one easy truth: The Delta variation of COVID-19 is more infectious than the initial infection, however it is not more unsafe or most likely to eliminate you. If you are immunized and are exposed to it, you might get contaminated. This infection is most likely to be moderate; periodically immunized individuals get ill. These signs are normally moderate, workable, and pass within a day or more.

The very first case of the Delta variation — formerly described as “the Indian variant” — in the U.S. was detected at the end of March. Our active COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have actually decreased because that date, although the everyday variety of brand-new cases has actually increased drastically in current weeks. This is what we would anticipate to see from a version that is more infectious however similarly virulent.

As the U.S. Centers for Illness Control and Avoidance keep highlighting, about 99 percent of present hospitalizations are amongst the unvaccinated — less than 1,200 of more than 107,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Might were of immunized people. If you are immunized, the infection can’t do much damage to you, even if it’s the Delta variation. However if you are unvaccinated, the threat of a major health concern is what it was at the start of 2020 — a small threat if you’re young and healthy, and a considerably greater threat if you’re senior, immunocompromised, or have other health problems. But you’re more likely to encounter Delta than other variants these days because it spreads so easily and quickly.

The problem for the CDC, and the country, is not the 163.3 million Americans who are fully vaccinated — and there’s a good chance that the 25.6 million or so Americans with their first shot will get around to getting their second shot. The problem is the nearly 80 million American adults who are eligible to get vaccinated and who haven’t yet. (Despite what a lot of news coverage would suggest, this demographic is not overwhelmingly or even largely MAGA-cap-wearing rural Trump voters. Lots of unvaccinated Americans live in America’s biggest and most heavily Democratic cities, and 40 percent of New York City Department of Education employees remain unvaccinated.)

The CDC has decided that because of the threat to the unvaccinated, everyone — including the fully vaccinated — should mask up once again to stop the spread. Just like that, we’re back to 2020, with Americans fighting over whether they need to wear one indoors, outdoors, and in schools, and policing each other when the masks slide under their noses. All to protect people who have been eligible to get vaccinated since mid April, and who, in most cases, have deliberately chosen to not get the shot.

We’ve seen a big push to get teenagers to get vaccinated, but when school starts in the fall, vaccination status won’t make any difference, as the CDC now recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, “regardless of vaccination status.”

Yes, there are some Americans who can’t get vaccinated yet, most notably children under twelve.  Thankfully, children in this age group are at minimal threat of serious health problems from COVID-19. Yes, children who are infected should be kept home, treated, and monitored for those exceptionally rare cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome. However most children’s encounters with COVID-19 will pass like a case of the sniffles.

At a time when the CDC ostensibly wants to emphasize the benefits of getting immunized, the agency is declaring that the same rules apply to the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. There is little evidence that reinstating mask mandates will spur reluctant Americans to go get vaccinated. There is a likelihood it will backfire, as more and more of the public concludes that CDC guidelines can turn on a dime and contradict past statements.

The Editors comprise the senior editorial personnel of the National Evaluation publication and site.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.