Public Health Experts Slam States’ Moves to Ditch Masks
Other states lifting mask orders have a better trend, but on Wednesday CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said they weren’t out of the woods either.
“Please hear me clearly: at this level of cases, with the spread of variants, we risk completely losing the hard-won ground,” she said at a press briefing. “These variations pose a very real threat to our people and our progress. Now is not the time to relax critical safeguards which we know can stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, not when we are so close, ”she said.
Speaking at a Mexican restaurant in Lubbock on Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott said the success of vaccines along with the drop in cases and hospitalizations made it clear that state warrants were no longer needed .
“The removal of state mandates does not end personal responsibility,” he said. “Personal vigilance to follow safety standards is always necessary.”
The problem with this position, say the researchers, is that it’s not enough. The benefit of masks depends on everyone who wears them. Studies have shown that requiring the use of masks makes a difference.
“There is just overwhelming science about it,” said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, professor of health policy and management at Georgetown University School of Public Health. “When mask warrants are imposed infection rates go down and when mask warrants are lifted infection rates go up. I mean, we’ve had enough natural experiences over the last year that we can see the impact it’s having, ”Levi said.
“This is a tragic politicization of our response to the pandemic and the consequences will not be limited to these states,” Levi said.
A study published last month by scientists at the CDC compared the growth rate of COVID cases in more than 3,000 U.S. counties between June and October of last year. Those who had a mask warrant were 43% less likely to see rapid growth in their infections compared to those who did not.
“Mask warrants can play an important role in preventing COVID-19 and could be particularly important for people who have to work in person, including essential workers and those working in crowded conditions, especially in crowded conditions. non-metropolitan areas, ”the study authors wrote.
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