We’ve seen more and more states ditching their mask mandates. However, we haven’t heard much from Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC during all of this. What does the CDC feel about everyone choosing to don a naked face while out in public?
It turns out that they’re okay with it. In fact, they’re starting to release new recommendations as the COVID cases are finally starting to wane.
Walensky has said that the data supports the decisions being made by state and local officials. Approximately 70 percent of the country is going back to “normal” by allowing people to forget the mask when they go out in public.
Apparently, the CDC has “been thinking about shifting our metrics to hospitalization for some time now.” This is good news because it means they’ll focus more on those who are being hospitalized and less on those who are simply testing positive. After all, if the vaccines and boosters are supposed to reduce the likelihood of getting seriously ill, there should be no issue…
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra was quick to add to the conversation, too. He explained how the country is in a better place than it was six months and even six weeks ago. They want to focus on severity over the number of cases. “Because of all the hard work that’s been done and the many tools we’ve developed to tackle Covid, we can ease the guidance on mask use – not everyone in every place needs to wear a mask.”
That means that we have to ask – what exactly does that mean?
Can we start being realistic about all of the different places that require masks at the moment – including public transportation, airports, and flights?
Well, it’s one battle at a time. There are still schools that require kids to mask up. However, with the CDC masking guidelines changing, it should allow most schools to lift their mandates unless they are still in a high transmission area.
The CDC is recommending that schools continue to look at other public health measures to keep students safe, including investing in proper ventilation systems.
Walensky recently told reporters that “We want to give people a break from things like mask-wearing when our levels are low, and then have the ability to reach for them again should things get worse in the future.”
It seems that the CDC isn’t the one to determine whether the federal mask mandate remains in place for bus and train riders and airline passengers. The Transportation Security Administration will continue to enforce the mandate until it expires on March 18 – though it is possible that it will be renewed.
We’re in a wait-and-see situation. March 18 could be the last day we are required to mask up, especially if COVID rates continue to drop across the country.
TSA spokeswoman Alexa Lopez recently told The Washington Post that “The mask requirement remains in place, and we will continue to assess the duration of the requirement in consultation with CDC.”
We know where the TSA is on the subject of masks. It means that we may be in the final phases of COVID. We can toss our masks into the trash or put them into memory boxes to entertain our grandkids in 20 years about what the country did to us.
We’ll know more soon. Until then, we can hope that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decides to give the CDC and TSA a final push to end mandates. After all, they’re the ones dealing with the unruly passengers who just want to breathe without five layers of fabric smothering their nose and mouth.