Washington

CDC director: It’s ‘absolutely’ too soon to end mask mandates


The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday that it is far too early to eliminate mask mandates nationwide amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” if it is too soon to stop requiring masks, Dr. Rochelle Walensky answered, “Absolutely.”

“We are still at about 100,000 cases a day. We are still at around 1,500 to 3,500 deaths per day. The cases are more than two and a half fold times what we saw over the summer,” Dr. Walensky said.

“It’s encouraging to see these trends coming down but they’re coming down from an extraordinarily high place,” she said. “And as I said earlier, if we want to get our children back to school and I believe we all do, it all depends on how much community spread is out there.”

Dr. Walensky said the United States has hit the 50 million vaccinations-into-arms mark and is “scaling up.” She also said newly vaccinated Americans exposed to the coronavirus will not need to quarantine.

“We have issued guidance this week that suggests, that recommends, that if you have been vaccinated and you are exposed, and you’re exposed within three months of your vaccination, that’s similar to if you’ve been exposed within three months of disease, that you need not quarantine,” the CDC director said. “As data emerge on many of the questions that you’re asking, we will update our guidance in real-time.”

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