With or without mask? The lifting of the US health authorities’ recommendation to use the vaccine schedule (two doses) against Kovid-19 surprised local officials, experts, and US companies. And this Friday (14) caused a heated debate and much confusion.
Even in Congress, there was doubt when some attendees were asked to remove their masks, despite President Joe Biden’s request that those who preferred to keep them “with mercy and respect” Is treated “.
Following the announcement made on Thursday (13) by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the main federal public health agency, the practice quickly converged with the doctrine.
Seemingly simple at first glance, the guideline has led to a maze of questions in a country that had long been the epicenter of the epidemic and where debate over the use of the mask at the time of its normalization had occurred over the past year. One party issue.
The CDC’s recommendations are not binding and the decision rests with state and local authorities or trade and store boards. They do not apply to public transport including airplanes and hospitals.
This situation put employers and local officials in a dilemma: to make decisions among the concerns of Americans still affected by the results of the virus in the country most affected by the epidemic, with recommendations from scientific authorities and more than 580 thousand deaths.
“Until now, masks were important and suddenly they were no longer there,” said 47-year-old Evan Matta, an employee of the New York Travel Agency.
“My fear is how will it be tested whether people have been fully vaccinated or not?” I think there are many people who will not use masks even if they are not vaccinated ”, he added.
Mix of rules
In New York, but also in Washington, officials briefly indicated they would “study” the new recommendations.
A sign of confusion, First Lady Jill Biden took off her mask during a visit to an immunization center on Thursday, but returned the next day to safety at a museum in the capital.
Elsewhere, there is also a mix of rules: in Minnesota and Pennsylvania, existing obligations were immediately updated. In Connecticut, the new rule will not apply until next week.
In Texas, the recommendation would eventually not change things too much: the need for masks was dropped in March, even without vaccination.
Suspicion also arose in supermarket chains, many of whom began mandatory use of face masks for all their customers.
After a day of contemplation, Trade Joe and Walmart, the number one in distribution, announced they would respect the new rules, while Aldi said he would keep the status quo unchanged.
In General Motors’ factories, the mask is still effective for “studying” new recommendations.
“The CDC’s recommendations are confusing,” the union of food and beverage distributors UFCW complained. “Essential workers often come into contact with people who have not been vaccinated and refuse to wear masks. They will have to undergo vaccination inspection.”
Most of the scientists, who had long considered the health recommendations to be very cautious, appreciated the new advertisements.
Vaccines are effective against variants, dramatically reducing the likelihood of infection (and not just for developing symptoms), and reducing the viral load in rare cases where the disease occurs anyway, studies have concluded .
Therefore, they show that vaccinated people (about 36% of the population in the United States) do not endanger themselves or others, not to mention that daily cases have dropped dramatically.
Furthermore, in a country where the supply of vaccine is now more than the demand, the authorities hope to encourage those who are reluctant to take this step.
However, some experts objected to the immediate removal of the mask’s recommendation, especially for areas where transmission rates are still high.
For example, epidemiologist Katlin River would have preferred this advertisement to be locally dependent on “there were fewer daily cases per 100,000 people”.
“Give people time to get organized,” said Linsey Mara, an expert on airborne virus transmission.