(WSYM) — Many Americans have welcomed the CDC’s new guidance on masks. Some experts say that the agency is being overly cautious and not providing enough incentive to persuade unvaccinated people to get the COVID-19 shots.
It’s not the CDC’s job to create incentives for the public to get vaccinated. Their job is to look at the data and decide, based on that, what’s in the best interest of Americans. To me, the incentive to getting vaccinated is that you’ll have high protection against a virus that is deadly. If we look at our seven-day average, there are roughly 760 deaths per day. That’s still a lot of people dying. It’s not just older folks. Variants are hitting younger people and leading to higher hospitalization rates. Even for those who aren’t hospitalized, COVID can lead to long-term health issues, even disability for some. So in my opinion, those are the real incentives for getting vaccinated. Because vaccines induce immunity and help the body to fight off the virus.
Let’s first look at some key restrictions they’ve eased. Fully vaccinated people can ditch the mask at small outdoor gatherings with others who are either fully vaccinated or unvaccinated. And those fully vaccinated can also dine at outdoor restaurants without masks with friends from multiple households. Now, the CDC still wants everyone to wear masks in crowded outdoor places like stadiums. And to also keep masks on when you’re indoors in public spaces. And there are a few reasons for this.
Number one, the virus excels at infecting people indoors, especially when close together.
Number two, there are still millions of people who are not yet protected. 42% have received at least one dose and only 29% of Americans are fully vaccinated.
And number three, vaccines do not provide 100% protection.
On top of all that, we still need more data on:
- How long vaccines provide protection
- What the protection level is when it comes to new variants, and
- How effective vaccines are at stopping vaccinated people from infecting those who are unvaccinated if they get infected
So, in my opinion, I don’t believe the CDC‘s new guidance is casting doubt on the vaccines. I agree that we should continue to err on the side of caution until more people are vaccinated and we reach herd immunity.