CDC director says dropping mask mandates is a mistake as coronavirus spreads

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s appointee to run the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), listens as Biden publicizes nominees and appointees to serve on his well being and coronavirus response groups throughout a information convention at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, December 8, 2020.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mentioned on Sunday that it is too early for states to raise mask-wearing mandates given the excessive variety of every day coronavirus circumstances and deaths within the U.S.

“We still have 100,000 cases a day. We still have somewhere between 1,500 and 3,500 deaths per day,” Walensky mentioned throughout an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And yet we see some communities relaxing some of their mitigation strategies. We are nowhere out of the woods.”

As the unfold of the virus within the U.S. slows and the vaccine rollout out quickens, states have began loosening restrictions. Republican governors in Montana and Iowa lifted statewide mask-wearing necessities this month. North Dakota’s mask mandate expired in January.

In New York, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo just lately permitted indoor eating at 25% capability regardless of the excessive threat of contagion in indoor areas and opened up stadiums and arenas at restricted capability.

But well being specialists concern that the fast unfold of extra contagious variants may deliver a new surge in circumstances and deaths within the U.S. Cases of the extra contagious variant first present in Britain, identified as B.1.1.7, are doubling about each 10 days throughout the nation.

“If we relax these mitigation strategies with increasing transmissible variants out there, we could be in a much more difficult spot,” Walensky mentioned. “Now is the time to not let up our guard. Now is the time to double down.”

Health officers are urging Americans to tighten and double up on masks, which offer important safety towards the viral transmission. Recent analysis from the CDC means that tightly worn surgical masks or doubling up with a surgical and material mask reduces threat of transmission by as much as 96%.

“We need to get our communities back to some normal functioning before we can start thinking about letting up our mitigation strategies,” Walensky mentioned.

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