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Tue May 18, 2021, 12:52 AM

An emergency room physician weighs in on CDC's relaxed masking, distancing guidelines

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/an-emergency-room-physician-weighs-in-on-cdcs-relaxed-masking-distancing-guidelines
"Ever since the CDC eased its masking recommendations for fully vaccinated adults, there's been a wide range of reaction, everything from celebration, to confusion, to criticism.

William Brangham has more about those concerns and some perspective from an emergency medicine doctor.
Dr. Ranney, great to see you back on the "NewsHour."

So, last week, the CDC says any fully vaccinated adult ó that means two weeks after your last shot ó can now take your mask off virtually everywhere, except for hospitals and jails and public transportation.

What did you make of that guidance, and have you seen changes already in your own hospital?

Dr. Megan Ranney:

So the guidance is absolutely scientifically sound.

If you are fully vaccinated, the chance of your catching COVID, getting severely sick, hospitalized or, God forbid, dying, is tremendously low.

However, most Americans have not yet been vaccinated. And lots of people who want to get vaccinated still haven't had the chance. The problem here isn't the biological science. It's the behavioral science behind what is going to happen when we tell folks that they can take their masks off.

William Brangham:

So, help me understand what you would have preferred the CDC to say. Would you have preferred a sort of subtler message that are you vaccinated, you are largely safe, but maybe we should be wearing masks in places where people are mixed, vaccinated and unvaccinated?

Megan Ranney:

That is exactly right, just like they were clear that you do still need to wear masks in health care settings.

And, yes, I have not seen anything in my own E.R. yet. Similarly, it would be fine to say, listen, vaccines protect you. They protect you tremendously well. But for the sake of our community, we're all going to keep indoor masking just a little bit longer to help keep each other safe until everyone who wants a vaccine has had the chance to be fully vaccinated.

It would also have been great to see some metrics to provide policy guidance to states and to businesses. I think California's decision is absolutely right. Give it a little more time, so that all those folks who just became eligible in mid-April actually have the chance to get vaccines in arms and for the vaccines to take effect.

This is just an ex extension of what we have done for the last 15 months with protecting our community. A few more weeks of masking is not going to hurt us.

William Brangham:

We just came out with a "NewsHour" NPR/Marist poll that.

And it showed that roughly, I think it's three-quarters of people have either been vaccinated or said they're hoping to do so very soon. But then a quarter of people said they are not going to be vaccinated. And it seems that, if those people are now out in society without wearing masks, that kids and people with compromised immune systems might really be at risk, because we can't tell who has been vaccinated and who hasn't.

Dr. Megan Ranney:

That is exactly right.

At some point, we can't protect everyone forever. And people who choose not to get vaccinated after vaccines are fully available, at some point, they are taking on a risk for themselves. But it is the rest of the community who I am worried about. It is those folks on chemo or immunosuppressants or kids, right?; 12-to-15 year olds just became eligible for vaccines.

And it is going to be tough to keep masks on kids when no one else is wearing them. So, that is exactly the concern is, what does this mean for our larger community? Now, things will continue to change. Cases will continue to drop. Hopefully, vaccines in arms will continue to week.

In a few weeks from now, or, like California has said, in mid-June, that is an appropriate time to start to relax guidance. So, I think the CDC was right to talk about the science. I wish that big businesses and states weren't rushing to change policy based off of the fact that vaccines work."

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Response to CentralMass (Original post)

Tue May 18, 2021, 12:56 AM

1. For the people who have not been vaccinated yet, they should still wear masks and social distance

until they are vaccinated. That is what the CDC said.

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Response to CentralMass (Original post)

Tue May 18, 2021, 01:28 AM

2. I find it sad, discombobulating and incomprehensible

that a lot of people here are saying they are fully vaccinated but will continue to mask. Why? Someone even said they'd mask for the next five years. What part of you have almost no chance of getting the virus isn't clear?

I'm in Santa Fe, NM, and stores here are still posting mask requirements, and I'll happily comply. But I will go maskless at every opportunity.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #2)

Tue May 18, 2021, 02:38 AM

3. I'm going maskless outdoors for sure.

Indoors I may not have a choice for a while. My state has had a mask mandate in place continuously since March 2020, and I don't think it's been lifted yet. Signs saying "Mask required" are still posted on the doors of every business I've visited lately, as well as the public library.

Frankly, I'm so used to masking at this point that the thought of going out without one feels kind of weird. I'll get there eventually!

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Response to ShazzieB (Reply #3)

Tue May 18, 2021, 02:48 AM

4. Same here.

I've been maskless outdoors for a month or so. I am happy to comply with stores or other places that want me to mask. I won't object, won't fuss at all.

Ohh, how I do wish my public library would reopen. I'm okay with getting books by requesting them on the internet and picking them up at the door, but I really miss browsing the stacks, reading magazines, and chatting with the librarians. Sigh.

I am needing major dental work (don't ask) and the very fact that I need to be without a mask at the dentist is a bit odd.

I am fully vaccinated, and I cheerfully tell all who might need to know that bit of information.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #2)

Tue May 18, 2021, 03:19 AM

6. Well PoindexterOglethorpe it is unfortunate but we all cant be you.

Less the half the population has been vaccinated in the country. Oregon just approved 12-15 year olds to be eligible and then there is the < 12 group. Keeping mask requirements a little longer to allow everyone that is eligible a chance to get vaccinated doesn't seem like a major deal..
I may continue to carry a mask and wear it in certain situation in the future.
At least twice in the last 5 years I've sat next to some joker who hacked on me for the 5 or 6 hour plane ride to the other coast and come down with some wretched respiratory ailment that took anti-biotics (I hate taking ant-biotics) in both cases. I have some scarring on my lower right lung from a bad case of pneumonia that I had about 3 decades ago. It's no big deal but hacking for weeks fighting off some respiratory infection is nothing I care to deal with or pass on to anyone else. I will definitely mask up while flying and other situation where I am going to have prolonged exposure to a crowd indoors.
We had Sars hit about a decade and now this Covid-19 variant and there are predictions that with global warming and other factors this won't be the last new deadly virus to hit us. Wearing a mask is no big deal.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #2)

Tue May 18, 2021, 04:54 AM

9. It's becoming a political badge of honor

Even though our President has said that he agrees with the CDC, for some reason many here want to continue to mask as a show of their "enlightenment".
I have been surprised at the amount of people on DU, that seem to honestly want the pandemic to never end. If we have been preaching for the past 14 months to "follow the science" why are we now reluctant to do so?
I will continue to mask whenever asked, but if it's not mandatory, I am done with masks.

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Response to forthemiddle (Reply #9)

Tue May 18, 2021, 05:59 AM

10. I live in rural Virginia.

We have had over 80 new cases and three deaths in the past week with a population under 78,000. Our rate of vaccination is about 36%.

I called our local health department and asked if they knew how many of these cases are unvaccinated people versus vaccinated and they didnít know. I suggested to her that it might be beneficial to keep that data to 1) Reassure those of us who are vaccinated that we are safe and 2) Perhaps encourage the unvaccinated among us to do the right thing by pointing out that the only sick people are the unvaccinated. She thought it was a good idea and would pass it on to the epidemiologists.

Our middle daughter is pregnant and is awaiting her second vaccine next week. Iím fully vaccinated but donít want to bring any illness to her and my unborn granddaughter until they both have immunity. Iím wearing a mask in public

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #2)

Tue May 18, 2021, 09:22 AM

12. Some people are prioritizing their communities along with their health seeing vaxed doesn't

... mean inoculated.

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Response to CentralMass (Original post)

Tue May 18, 2021, 03:02 AM

5. I don't understand the logic that says that fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks

because it is not possible to know who has been vaccinated and who hasn't been. Fully vaccinated people are protected from
unvaccinated people whether those people wear masks or not. So yes, when I go out I can't tell who is vaccinated, but that doesn't matter. I know I am vaccinated so I am protected regardless of whether other people I encounter are vaccinated or not.

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Response to totodeinhere (Reply #5)

Tue May 18, 2021, 03:30 AM

7. My reply is getting truncated fir some reason so ..

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Response to CentralMass (Original post)

Tue May 18, 2021, 04:08 AM

8. I get my second shot this coming Sat ..

2 weeks after that I am going to stop wearing masks, except in places where it is required. Having said that, I'm still going to avoid crowed places whenever possible.

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Response to CentralMass (Original post)

Tue May 18, 2021, 06:01 AM

11. "It's the behavioral science" and too many Americans deny this science even exist !!!

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Response to CentralMass (Original post)

Tue May 18, 2021, 11:58 AM

13. Fully vaccinated people are very unlikely to get Covid.

And if they do, they apparently aren't spreading it to anyone else.

Honestly, what's the point of getting vaccinated if you're going to behave exactly as you did before being vaccinated?

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