Americans were simultaneously stunned and confused on May 13, 2021, when the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people could stop wearing masks both outdoors and indoors, but those not fully-vaccinated needed to continue masking up for the time being. Governors quickly began lifting and adjusting mask mandates to fit the CDC’s new guidelines, but Dr. Anthony Fauci wants people to understand what the CDC’s guidance really means.
“I think people are misinterpreting, thinking that this is a removal of a mask mandate for everyone. It’s not,” Dr. Fauci told Axios. “It’s an assurance to those who are vaccinated that they can feel safe, be they outdoors or indoors.”
However, this does not mean that Fauci doesn’t understand where the confusion comes from, and told Axios so.
“It’s not their fault,” Fauci said. “People either read them quickly, or listen and hear half of it. They are feeling that we’re saying: ‘You don’t need the mask anymore.’ That’s not what the CDC said. They said: If you are vaccinated, you can feel safe — that you will not get infected either outdoors or indoors. It did not explicitly say that unvaccinated people should abandon their masks.”
States and citizens made big moves after mask guideline announcement
Some states like Pennsylvania adopted the CDC’s guidelines within hours, again reiterating that non-vaccinated people still needed masks, according to Pittsburgh’s WTAE. Pennsylvania was originally supposed to drop it’s mask mandate for everyone two weeks after 70% of the over 18 population was fully vaccinated. Other states like Texas went to the extreme as Governor Greg Abbott banned municipalities and schools within the state from requiring masks, reports The Houston Chronicle.
The CDC also tried to clear up the confusion as people worried that non-vaccinated people would purposely not mask. CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky urged unvaccinated people to still play it safe on ABC’s “This Week”.
“We still have children under the age of 11 and they should obviously still be wearing masks,” Walensky said. “So, if you’re unvaccinated, we are saying, wear a mask, continue to distance if you’re unvaccinated and practice all of those mitigation strategies.”
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