CDC’s Cautious Advice for Vaccinated People Draws Criticism

The first federal recommendations for people vaccinated against COVID-19 allow cautious steps toward normal life.Too cautious, critics say.The In this Jan. 27, 2021, image from video, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks during a White House briefing.Though vaccinated people are protected from severe illness, there is still a “small risk” that they could carry the virus without showing symptoms and spread it to other people, FILE – In this Feb. 5, 2021, file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans travel by boat along the Hillsborough River in Tampa, Fla.More than half of Americans are planning or have booked a trip, according to the U.S. Travel Association, an industry group.Public health experts have criticized Texas and Mississippi for completely reopening their economies and canceling their mask mandates. But they are not the only ones relaxing restrictions. Other states, including Massachusetts and Connecticut, are allowing restaurants to go back to full capacity.“The CDC guidance is lagging what people are actually doing,” said Adalja of Johns Hopkins, adding that the agency is risking irrelevance. “People are passing them by, and I think they’re losing an opportunity to actually help people make better decisions.”Adalja also thinks the CDC would be better off approaching COVID-19 the way it does HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C or sexually transmitted diseases.“We know that abstinence-only education doesn’t work,” he said.Rather than telling vaccinated people what not to do, the CDC should explain how to lower their risks.“Don’t throw away your mask,” he said. “But don’t be worried about visiting your grandfather, or getting on an airplane or subway, or indoor dining. I tell people, go back to as close to normal life as you feel comfortable.”The guidance is “an important first step,” Walensky added, but it’s “not our final destination.” The risks that vaccinated people can still spread the virus is “an ongoing area of research,” she said, adding that the CDC will continue updating the guidance as new information comes in. 


       SJ

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