The United States is still experiencing the aftermath of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) announcement that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear a mask in certain indoor settings. With many pointing out that it was a rash decision bringing people’s guard down, some argue that the announcement by the CDC was motivated by political pressure. The Washington Post reported that some people believe the CDC’s announcement was a political success for the Biden administration since the announcement came when the market was fluctuating due to fears of inflation.
Against this backdrop, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tried to defend the decision during her interviews with four media outlets on Sunday (local time). Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Dr. Walensky said the decision was nothing to do with political pressure. “I’m delivering the science,” she sai, providing grounds for the agency’s decision, including a growing number of vaccinated Americans and a drop in new COVID-19 cases.
“This was not permission to shed masks for everybody everywhere,” Dr. Walensky told NBC. “This was really science driven, individual assessment of your risk.” In her interviews with four media outlets, she focused on explaining the transparency and background of the CDC’s decision. She said that from 1.5 million to 2 million shots a day are being administered in the U.S. and more people are being vaccinated every day but it is up to each person whether the honor system will work or not.
The fact that Dr. Walensky changed her words about the federal government’s mask guidelines is raising a controversy. While she was testifying in front of Congress last Tuesday, Walensky stressed the importance of maintaining anti-coronavirus measures, such as mask-wearing and social distancing, saying only one-third of the nation has been fully vaccinated and community infection continues unabated. Two days later on May 13, however, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask in most settings, including indoors. The CDC director said fully vaccinated people can resume activities that they did prior to the pandemic era without wearing a mask. Many people wonder why the CDC changed its guidelines on mask-wearing when the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. has not changed much just in two days.