After over a year of relying on masks for protection against the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now saying we can ditch the face coverings in most situations as long as we are vaccinated. Their announcement isn't sitting well with some health care providers.
“This was a premature release of guidelines and we would like the CDC to retract those guidelines,” said Deborah Burger, president of National Nurses United.
Burger says the most recent guidance will jeopardize the health of all essential workers and the general public.
“What we already know is that there is 30% of people that are asymptomatic when they come down with COVID,” said Burger. “And even though you are vaccinated you can still come down with COVID."
When introducing the new recommendations, the CDC cited two recent scientific findings: one being that few vaccinated people become infected with the virus and that the vaccines appear to be effective against all known variants of the virus.
Many cities, states, and businesses have relaxed their mask mandates to match the CDC’s recommendations, moving to an honor system in which they hope only those who are fully vaccinated will ditch their masks.
“When you have voluntary compliance it is very hard to implement a policy,” said Burger.
Burger noted that although vaccinations are vitally important to stop the spread, millions of Americans still have not been vaccinated.
According to CDC data, only 37.1% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated.
“We’re concerned as nurses that they are going to create another wave and nurses have barely had time to catch their breath and recuperate mentally and physically from the last waves,” said Burger.
The CDC has not responded to the criticisms at this time.
National Nurses United say they will continue to call on the CDC to reverse its decision until they see more people have been vaccinated.