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As Democratic governors rush to ease mask mandates ahead of the approaching midterms, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stated Wednesday that any changes to its recommendations are still weeks away.
In a Feb. 9 Covid White House press briefing, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky warned it was still too soon to unmask indoors.
“At this time, we continue to recommend masking in areas of high-end substantial transmission,” Walensky said. “That’s much of the country right now in public indoor settings.”
It was a difficult stance to maintain, after the world watched celebrities and politicians alike thumbing their noses at the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Here’s the video of every celebrity without a mask during the Super Bowl. But every kid in California will have to be wearing them tomorrow in school. They must all be holding their breaths the entire game. pic.twitter.com/Dc9yVd7RPf
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) February 14, 2022
But maintain it Walensky did, though she did point to early March for a possible change in CDC guidance.
CDC Chief: No Change to Mask Rules Yet, But 'We Anticipate' New Guidance in Late Feb or Early March https://t.co/E0JM4DXtms via @mediaite pic.twitter.com/dX2BA51WY3
— Tommy moderna-vaX-Topher (@tommyxtopher) February 16, 2022
When asked about “the timelines for some of these state rate rules as you understand them, and how they could coincide with the CDC deliberations,” Walensky responded:
“So maybe just to say many of these state-based policies have come out in phased approaches that they are talking about, you know, something that might happen in a week or two. Masks that might come off in a week or two at the end of February, early March. And so of course, our metrics are going to examine, as Jeff said, and as I previously said, issues related to cases, certainly issues related to severity of disease and hospital capacity. And we anticipate that many of these will intersect in terms of timing.”
Though aware of pandemic fatigue, Walensky wants to see the COVID case rates to decline further before the CDC changes its guidance.
“Our emergency departments can’t be so overwhelmed that patients with emergent issues have to wait in line,” Walensky said. “We are assessing the most important factors based on where we are in the pandemic, and will soon put guidance in place that is relevant and encourages prevention measures when they are most needed to protect public health and our hospitals.”
“We want to give people a break from things like mask wearing when these metrics are better, and then have the ability to reach for them again should things worsen,” Walensky added. “If and when we update our guidance, we will communicate that clearly,” s and it will be based on the data and the science.”
As ABC News reported last week, nearly a dozen states have made changes to their masking policies, including California, whose indoor mask mandate expired February 15. But that doesn’t mean all of California will be removing their face coverings.
“In order for the indoor mask mandate to be lifted, Los Angeles Country must reach a “moderate” rate of transmission for two consecutive weeks, or for the COVID-19 vaccine to be made available to children ages 6 months to 4 years for at least eight weeks,” ABC reported. “In addition, the health department said there must be no emerging reports of significantly circulating new variants that threaten vaccine efficacy.”
Unless, of course, it’s Super Bowl Sunday.
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