The CDC has recently made revisions to its mask mandate. Individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are no longer required to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors, except under special circumstances. While small numbers of infection among fully vaccinated individuals in the US have been reported, the CDC has cited three studies — one from Israel and two from the US — to prove that the vaccines are successful. The requirements for mask-wearing during travel — buses, trains, planes, and public transportation — still applies, but this is subject to change with further scientific research. Immuno-compromised individuals have been advised to obtain a recommendation from his or her doctor. People that develop COVID-19 symptoms, even if vaccinated, are still required to don a mask and get tested.
These revisions have brought up issues with the CDC’s announcement. Many health officials point out that the pandemic is far from over, and that the CDC has not articulated their recommendations effectively. Several shortcomings of the CDC’s revision have been called into question. The CDC has failed to tell vaccinated individuals the risks they or their community may face from the removal of masks as breakthrough infections do exist, and can be very serious. Support for those that are vaccinated and have chosen to remain masked has not been provided, stigmatizing mask use and potentially preventing simple preventive measures for the spread of disease from continuing. New plans to further vaccinate individuals have also not been confirmed. Furthermore, the CDC has failed to inform the public and venues of one’s vaccination; things have been left on the honor system. This is dangerous as non-vaccinated individuals that do not wish to wear a mask may lie and avoid wearing a mask, increasing the potential for the spread of disease and further deaths, as vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals cannot be differentiated.
Many businesses have announced that vaccinated individuals can be in their establishments without masks. Stores such as Costco, Walmart, and Trader Joe’s are among such businesses. All the aforementioned businesses have stated that shoppers must still follow local and state mask mandates. These businesses are using the honor code to determine vaccinated shoppers, opening up the risk of unvaccinated individuals not wanting to wear masks taking advantage of the new mask mandates.