The federal government just extended its public transportation mask mandate two weeks ago, to run through September 13th. Yet today the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks.
To be clear, the government says:
- it is no longer recommended for those who have been vaccinated (except for the immunocompromised)
- but the government continues to mandate mask-wearing in airports and on planes, both for those that have been vaccinated and for those who refuse to be.
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says “we have all longed for this moment.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 no longer need to wear masks or physically distance, indoors or outdoors in most circumstances.
..”Based on the continuing downward trajectory of cases, the scientific data on the performance of our vaccines, and our understanding of how the virus spreads,” Walensky said, “that moment has come for those who are fully vaccinated.”
Mask rules made a lot of sense when airlines instituted them. I argued for masks when airlines were still prohibiting employees from wearing them. And I’ve argued that people should have been wearing better quality masks throughout the pandemic, and learning to wear them properly (there are simple YouTube videos!).
Now the CDC confirms that fully-vaccinated individuals do not need to wear them, or social distance, indoors or outdoors. Even Dr. Fauci is on board.
Two weeks ago when I wrote that the extension was no longer needed, because adult who wanted a vaccine could get one in the U.S. (and young children who haven’t been vaccinated are generally at less risk than vaccinated older Americans), many readers were angry because this position was out of step with the CDC. Though the CDC doesn’t say masks should no longer be required on planes the implication of their announcement is that the science supports this.
If we’re really going to say that ‘the vaccinated need to wear masks on planes to protect those who refuse to be vaccinated’ even though the CDC Director director also said “vaccinated people do not carry the virus” then we should state so.
The policy of the U.S. government should now be to recommend masks to those who have not been vaccinated, as it now is in most other indoor settings like restaurants where there may be greater risk of virus spread.