Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky stressed the agency’s new guidelines on masks are a “first step” in an interview Friday, as some questioned how businesses, cities and states would respond to the new guidance.
The CDC on Thursday announced vaccinated Americans can mostly stop wearing masks indoors.
The announcement left some wondering how businesses and public venues would follow the new guidance, given just 35.8% of the American population is fully vaccinated and the only way of proving you’ve been immunized is the CDC’s vaccine card, which can be forged.
Asked about the concerns in an interview with ABC News, Walensky said the agency was planning to look at how it could best update its guidance for “individual settings” such as schools, childcare centers and the workplace.
A “lot” of decisions about how to carry out the CDC’s new guidance will have to happen at the local level, Walensky added.
Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper how restaurants, airlines and others are “supposed to know if the people coming to their establishment” are vaccinated, Dr. Anthony Fauci responded, “Well, Jake, they will not be able to know. You’re gonna be depending on people being honest enough to say whether they are vaccinated or not.”
Dr. Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University, criticized the CDC for moving too quickly with its updated mask guidance. The CDC’s “announcement would be very welcome if not for one big problem,” Wen wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. “There is no concurrent requirement for proof of vaccination. Without it, the CDC announcement could end up increasing confusion, removing incentives for those yet to be inoculated and delaying the eventual goal of herd immunity that would get society truly back to normal.”
A host of states have already moved to ease their mask mandates in accordance with the CDC’s new guidelines, including Illinois, Kentucky, Washington, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Minnesota.
What To Watch For
How businesses respond to the CDC’s new guidance. Hours after the CDC announcement, Home Depot, Kroger, and Starbucks announced they would keep their policies requiring employees and customers to wear masks for now. Delta announced Thursday it will require new employees to get vaccinated.
Illinois, Kentucky—And The White House: Here’s Where Mask Mandates Are Changing After The CDC Announcement (Forbes)