Fox News host Tucker Carlson has been saying for some time now that if the Biden administration continues to act as if the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t work, which is the indication some get with they see President Biden wearing masks outdoors when all alone, then people are going to question the effectiveness of the vaccines.
Turns out, CNN’s medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen agreed with Carlson, arguing that the administration’s rigid coronavirus restrictions discourage people from getting stuck.
“I understand that the Biden team wants to be cautious, but caution comes at a price,” Wen said during an appearance on Anderson Cooper 360. “And that price is that people are saying, ‘Well, what’s the point of getting vaccinated? If not that much changes for me.’ I think that what the Biden administration has been doing is to say, here’s what we, as a society, should do; once we reach a certain level of vaccination in the society, once the infection level decreases, we’ll lift restrictions for everyone.”
“But I think they’re discounting that many Americans want to know, what’s in it for me? They don’t want to wait until everyone gets to some elusive herd immunity,” she continued. “I think it will be a lot more effective if we say once you are fully vaccinated, that’s the end of the road for you.”
Wen said that when people are able to take their masks off outside and go enjoy the many aspects of pre-pandemic life that will “be key to overcoming vaccine hesitancy.”
Host Anderson Cooper asked if that creates a problem for unvaccinated people who are seeing others walk around without masks.
“Are more people just going to start taking off their masks, whether or not they have been vaccinated?” he said. “It’s not like anybody’s checking.”
“I think, frankly, outdoor-mask mandates should just go regardless of whether you are vaccinated,” Wen replied. “There are a lot of locales and states that still have blanket-mask mandates. So even if you live in a suburban area or rural area, where you don’t see that many people, there is still mask mandates in place. That does not make any sense.”
She reiterated that she believes outdoor mask mandates can go.
“I think the key, at this point, is that we have to think about reducing risk,” Wen said, when Cooper repeated the concern about those not vaccinated. “Not eliminating risk. Because we’re just not going to be able to live like that.”
“We are seeing major portions of this country, who are not yet vaccinated, who are already returning to doing everything they were doing pre-pandemic because our guidance, the public-health guidance, is so disconnected from their everyday reality,” she pointed out. “Part of public health is understanding where people are and meeting them there.”
She concluded by saying people who have been vaccinated are now lower risk and they should “go and do things. We encourage you to do things like travel. We want you to do it safely but please, go see your friends and family. I think that kind of message will have a lot more resonance than here are all the things you can’t do, even if you are fully vaccinated.”
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