The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) quietly dropped its universal masking recommendation for healthcare workers last week.
According to the federal health agency, which updated its guidance September 23, the changes were made “to reflect the high levels of vaccine-and infection-induced immunity and the availability of effective treatments and prevention tools.” The guidance emphasizes that it is applicable to United States healthcare settings before clarifying that areas without high transmission levels of the Chinese coronavirus “could choose not to require universal source control.”
Per the updated guidance:
Individuals might also choose to continue using source control based on personal preference, informed by their perceived level of risk for infection based on their recent activities (e.g., attending crowded indoor gatherings with poor ventilation) and their potential for developing severe disease. For example, if an individual or someone in their household is at increased risk for severe disease, they should consider wearing masks or respirators that provide more protection because of better filtration and fit to reduce exposure and infection risk, even if source control is not otherwise required by the facility. HCP [healthcare personnel] and healthcare facilities might also consider using or recommending source control when caring for patients who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.
The CDC openly removing the universal masking recommendation for United States healthcare workers is significant, because the federal health agency has remained a staunch supporter of masking throughout the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, as the Biden administration misled the American public after touting “just” 100 days of masking.
The push for masks extended far beyond President Biden’s original 100-day pitch, and the mask mandate for United States transportation was only lifted after a federal judge struck the rule down in April. After months of extensions, the judge deemed the rule “arbitrary and capricious.”
Despite the controversy over universal masking, proponents, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, originally — albeit quietly — admitted that cloth and surgical masks were not effective at stopping the spread of the virus. Yet, they continued to push it publicly, accusing critics of spreading misinformation, despite studies showing that cloth and surgical masks are not efficient at blocking exhaled aerosols — a more widely accepted fact now, over two years after the start of the pandemic.
A recent survey from The Economist/YouGov found a plurality, 45 percent, indicated that they “never” wear a mask outside their home, followed by 27 percent who said they do “some of the time.”
Just 14 percent said they “always” wear a mask.