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CDC director testifies before Senate, offers clarity on new guidance on mask use

Says mandates should now be handled at local level
Rochelle Walensky
Posted at 6:12 AM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 10:54:58-04

During a hearing on Wednesday, senators sought more clarity from the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the new relaxed mask guidance for fully vaccinated people.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky — who wore a mask Wednesday at the Capitol — testified before a Senate subcommittee. She said decisions about mask policy should depend on local circumstances.

"One of the things I think that's really key in this is to recognize that we are not a homogeneous country, that there are some areas that — some counties that — still have less than 20% of people vaccinated," Walensky said. "There's some counties that still have greater than 100 per 100,000 cases in a 7-day period of time. And so I actually think as I look at the map of very heterogeneous map of how we're doing with cases, how we're doing with vaccinations. The decisions about whether to take off a mask mandate have to be made at the local level, have to be made at the community level."

Under the new CDC recommendations, fully vaccinated people can resume most activities without a mask or social distancing.

The White House has used relaxed guidance to encourage people to get their shots.

"If you are not vaccinated, you are not safe," Walensky recently told Fox News.

However, the guidance also raises questions about the risk for those who are immuno-compromised and children who may be unvaccinated.

This story was originally published by Kamil Zawadzki for Newsy.