The CDC’s new, more relaxed mask for fully vaccinated people has been greeted with joy and relief by many U.S. residents. But the May 13 announcement divided the medical community over whether it was the right decision, according to new results from the WebMD / Medscape poll.
Of 660 U.S. doctors surveyed, 57% said the CDC took the plunge by prematurely relaxing the restrictions. Other healthcare professionals have taken a similar stance, with 63% of 1,330 nurses believing the mask change came too soon.
The CDC says people vaccinated against COVID-19 are no longer required to wear masks or physically move, regardless of the location or size of the gathering. There are a few exceptions, including public transportation, hospitals, homeless shelters and prisons. CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said three large studies on the effectiveness of COVID vaccines- 19 against the original virus and its variants helped inform new directions. An Israeli study found the vaccine to be 97% effective against symptomatic infection.
“The CDC should not have removed the restrictions without requiring proof of vaccination,” tweeted Carlos del Rio, MD, infectious disease expert and executive associate dean at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. “They could have said: It is always appropriate to continue hiding in places where unvaccinated and vaccinated people mix, such as grocery stores.”
Epidemiologist and health economist Eric Feigl-Ding, PhD, tweeted a similar disapproval: “Not at all satisfied – In a sharp turnaround from previous advice, the CDC said on Thursday that fully vaccinated vaccinees could stop wearing drugs. masks or maintain social distancing in most indoor and outdoor environments. , whatever their size, whatever the others. Too early.”
Others remain concerned about more vulnerable communities struggling with access issues that remain unprotected.
“If the United States had the vaccination rates for black communities (around 27%), I don’t think the CDC would have changed the masking guidelines,” tweeted pediatrician Rhea Boyd, MD. “We should change the guidelines when it is reasonable and safe for the most vulnerable populations, not the least vulnerable.”