CNN’s John Berman pressed CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on the recently updated guidance, questioning “why the hell” vaccinated people have to wear face coverings.
The story: Walensky made an appearance on CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday where she spoke about the updated guidance from the Center for Disease and Control regarding masking. The new recommendations came several weeks after the agency said that vaccinated people do not have to wear masks in most settings.
Now, the CDC is saying that even fully vaccinated Americans should wear masks indoors in areas reporting a surge in coronavirus cases.
Berman pressed Walensky on the new guidance that requires vaccinated Americans to wear face coverings and pointed to a recent CDC science brief on transmission.
The interview: Walensky said that the CDC decided to update recommendations because of the delta variant, saying that data shows breakthrough cases can transfer the virus to someone else.
“With prior variants, when people had these rare breakthrough infections, we didn’t see the capacity of them to spread the virus to others,” Walensky said. “But with the delta variant, we now see in our outbreak investigations that have been occurring over the last couple of weeks, in those outbreak investigations, we have been seeing that if you happen to have one of those breakthrough infections, that you can actually now pass it to somebody else.”
“That was the new science that prompted the guidance. And, it was not — it weighed heavily. I know this is not a message America wants to hear,” she added.
She said the CDC’s goal was to alert vaccinated people that they can contract the delta variant and infect someone else.
Walensky explained that the CDC wanted to make sure “people who are vaccinated to understand they could potentially pass this virus if they were one of those breakthrough infections.”
In response, Berman pointed to a science brief that the CDC published yesterday which said fully vaccinated people are far less likely to transmit the virus because of a reduced viral load. He asked Walensky if that information is still correct.
“The science that prompted this guidance is just days old. And in the coming days you will actually see the published information on the science that motivated this change,” Walensky said.
Berman then said: “You can understand the frustration in those of us who are vaccinated saying, ‘Why the hell do I have to pay the price for this?’”
“Right. So we’re asking everybody in those areas of orange and red to mask up. Here is the reason why — if you’re a vaccinated person and you’re in one of those areas, as you said, a sea of red, a sea of Covid, you have a reasonably high chance, if nobody is wearing a mask, to interact with people who may be infectious,” Walensky reiterated.
“Every 20 vaccinated people, one or two of them could get a breakthrough infection. They may only get mild disease, but we wanted them to know that they could bring that mild disease home,” the CDC Director said. “They could bring it to others.”
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.