Confusion about news mask rules continues

CDC guidelines cause mixed reactions
Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 6:28 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - When the CDC issued new guidelines for mask wearing last week, it caught most everyone off guard. There was no indication it was coming.

The new guidelines said people who are vaccinated can drop the masks in most circumstances. The key here is those who are vaccinated, which includes about half the country.

There has been some confusion ever since.

“The message is really advice to cities, states, counties to be able to make informed decisions,” said Dr. Richard Carmona, former Surgeon General of the United States. “Each of the communities may look at it differently.”

That’s where the confusion kicks in. The new guidelines are not rules nor will there be uniformity across the country because each state is different.

“The actual decisions and execution about a given policy is best handled at that local level,” Dr. Carmona said.

But that’s causing confusion nationwide as city councils and other local governments try to assess the data to determine what’s best for their communities.

“The average person doesn’t understand because they expect one message that is going to be applied across the United States,” he said. “It doesn’t work that way.”

But what appears to be universal is that unvaccinated people should continue to mask up in all surroundings. It’s only vaccinated people who get a break. Just more than half the country has received at least one shot leaving the other half vulnerable.

“We can’t force people to be smart, okay, that’s the problem,” he said. “And if you decide you don’t want to do it, it’s not only a risk to you, it’s a risk to the people around you because you can be spreading the disease.”

The heart of the problem is there’s no way to tell whose vaccinated and whose not.

“There’s an honor system here if you are not vaccinated,” Dr. Carmona said. “If people who are unvaccinated don’t wear masks and continue to socialize, the virus will continue to spread and will make the pandemic last longer.”

Pima County rescinded its old mandatory mask mandate passed last December and replaced it with a series of recommendations. The city of Tucson is expected to follow suit.

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