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CDC director says dropping masks mandates is a mistake as coronavirus spreads

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Dr. Rochelle Walensky, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s appointee to run the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC), listens as Biden publicizes nominees and appointees to serve on his well being and coronavirus response groups throughout a information convention at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, December 8, 2020.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, mentioned on Sunday that it is too early for states to carry mask-wearing mandates given the excessive variety of each day coronavirus circumstances and deaths within the U.S.

“We nonetheless have 100,000 circumstances a day. We nonetheless have someplace between 1,500 and three,500 deaths per day,” Walensky mentioned throughout an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And but we see some communities enjoyable a few of their mitigation methods. We’re nowhere out of the woods.”

Because the unfold of the virus within the U.S. slows and the vaccine rollout out quickens, states have began loosening restrictions. Republican governors in Montana and Iowa lifted statewide mask-wearing necessities this month. North Dakota’s masks mandate expired in January.

In New York, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo lately permitted indoor eating at 25% capability regardless of the excessive danger of contagion in indoor areas and opened up stadiums and arenas at restricted capability.

However well being consultants concern that the speedy unfold of extra contagious variants might convey a brand new surge in circumstances and deaths within the U.S. Instances of the extra contagious variant first present in Britain, referred to as B.1.1.7, are doubling about every 10 days throughout the nation.

“If we loosen up these mitigation methods with growing transmissible variants on the market, we may very well be in a way more troublesome spot,” Walensky mentioned. “Now could be the time to not let up our guard. Now could be the time to double down.”

Well being officers are urging People to tighten and double up on masks, which give vital safety in opposition to the viral transmission. Recent research from the CDC means that tightly worn surgical masks or doubling up with a surgical and material masks reduces danger of transmission by as much as 96%.

“We have to get our communities again to some regular functioning earlier than we will begin occupied with letting up our mitigation methods,” Walensky mentioned.