I am honestly stunned by the change in the mask recommendation from the CDC today. I am very concerned that this is a political decision.
While it is likely reasonably safe for those who have fully vaccinated to be around each other, the problem lies in that many of those who have been resistant to mask use are likely the same population who is resistant to vaccination. While this may be fine for people in the short term, it ignores some major behavioral problem.
It’s unlikely that those who have been resistant to various non-pharmaceutical interventions will start wearing masks now. Worse, it may embolden them to do more as they please in a much more belligerent manner and may lead to harassment of those who still do.
In my opinion, this change ignores the larger, long-term problem. It’s only been a couple of weeks since we hit the highest number of cases globally since the beginning of the pandemic. The high number of cases increases the chances of the emergence of new variants. While the vaccines seem to provide some degree of protection against the current variants of interest, that does not guarantee that will be the case with new ones that emerge.
The emergence of a new variant with low vaccine coverage and high transmissibility could be even more dangerous beyond just medical reasons. It could easily be twisted by those who resist guidelines to influence those who still are on the fence about the real science to think that the various non-pharmaceutical approaches aren’t beneficial, when just the opposite is true.
When there has been considerable and justified complaints about mixed messaging from the government, this simply fuels the fire for the future. I would argue that we should be continue normalizing mask use indoors in public spaces and outdoors in crowds, not the opposite.
I’ll keep wearing mine even though I’m fully vaccinated. I urge others to do the same.