If I were you, I would adhere to the CDC mask chart issued 4/27. (Business Insider, old chart) The CDC’s new mask guidance explained in 2 handy charts — one for outdoors, one for indoors. The radical update 17 days later cannot be explained as science. A similar risk analysis for a vaccine, after the application is submitted to FDA, takes months.
CDC has made a bold, justified move to solve the big problem. Widespread anti-vaccine sentiment combined with anti-mask sentiment threaten control of this disease. Had these issues not been politicized, the U.S. would not have the world’s highest death toll, (Statista) Number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths worldwide as of May 12, 2021, by country.
As of today, China, with 5X the population, and a poorly protective vaccine, records “Live free and die.” Hence, CDC’s new guidance.deaths to our 596,646. China citizens are compliant with public health regulations; U.S. citizens are not. By this metric, COVID-19 could be defined as a social problem, not medical. Is this oversimplified? Not with the apparent popularity of a parody of the New Hampshire state motto,
(CNN) Hear Dr. Gupta’s questions after CDC’s big announcement hints of a concern for medical inconsistencies. My own concerns may overlap his:
- The claims of reduced infectivity are based on reduced viral load in vaccinated break-through cases. (CDC) Science Brief: Background Rationale and Evidence for Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. Quoting,
Preliminary data from Israel suggest that people vaccinated with Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine who develop COVID-19 have a four-fold [4X] lower viral load than unvaccinated people.29 This observation may indicate reduced transmissibility, as viral load has been identified as a key driver of transmission.30
4X is good for the patient. It’s not so good if you are heavily inoculated by cough or spittle. 1/4 of an infectious exposure is usually infectious.
- The immune system has separate responses for respiratory surfaces versus interior of the body. Vaccines do not provide strong initial protection to the linings of the nose and throat. So there is reason to suspect that before the central immune system responds, a fully vaccinated person could still have a brief, asymptomatic, contagious infection.
- 17 days of study are too few for science. The UK ERP program is attempting science, but it’s been gathering data for only 6 weeks.
In an ideal world, which in this isolated COVID case China approximates, the new mask guidelines would be wrong. Here, today, it is right. Though not without risk, there is now tangible incentive for vaccination. Let’s hope it chips away at the public sentiments which have resulted, per Dr. Birx, in 497,000 preventable deaths.
If you choose to let people see you smile, don’t throw your mask out. We may be done with COVID, but COVID is not done with us.