CNN’s Chris Cuomo has been a staunch supporter of coronavirus-related restrictions – including those of his brother, New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo – but he’s among many Americans who need federal officials to explain why people who get vaccinated can’t resume their “normal lives.”
After the Centers for Disease Control announced new masking guidelines Tuesday that continue to restrict people who have had the COVID-19 shots, he tried to get an answer Tuesday night from White House coronavirus senior adviser Andy Slavitt but was unsuccessful.
Cuomo recalled that Americans were given the impression that when they finally got the vaccine, they would be immune to COVID-19.
“Why not treat it that way and let the vaccinated live their lives?” he asked.
Slavitt stuck to his talking points and didn’t answer.
Cuomo tried again three more times to no avail.
“Why put any restraints on the vaccinated?” he asked at one point, inquiring further if there is something different about the COVID-19 vaccines than previous ones that the government isn’t telling people.
“Everything you do is safer if you’re vaccinated,” Slavitt said while never getting around to answering Cuomo.
“The fundamental point is we are going to get back to normal, and it’s going to be normal for people who have been vaccinated and it’s going to be more risky for people who are not,” the Biden adviser said.
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) April 28, 2021
The CDC’s new guidelines advise vaccinated people to continue wearing masks for nearly every activity but dining at an outdoor restaurant with multiple households and attending a small outdoor gathering. Otherwise, according to a multi-colored chart titled “Choosing Safer Activities,” there is little distinction between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.
A section on the CDC website titled “Guiding Principles for Fully Vaccinated People” states vaccinated people should be “mindful of the very low potential risk” of transmitting the virus if they become infected.
The CDC has claimed the vaccines are 95% effective.
“Although the risk of COVID-19 infection may be minimal to the fully vaccinated person themselves,” the CDC states, “vaccinated persons should be mindful of the very low potential risk of transmitting the virus to others if they become infected, especially if they are visiting with unvaccinated people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or visiting with unvaccinated people who have people at increased risk for severe disease in their own households.”
‘Who’s running messaging at the CDC?’
“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah and NBC “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie joined Cuomo is expressing frustration.
“I know science is difficult, and this is a novel virus and all of that, but who’s running messaging at the CDC? Noah asked on his Comedy Central show Tuesday night. “First, they said masks make us less safe. Don’t wear a mask. Then they said, masks make us more safe. And now, according to this new chart, masks can make you not safe again? In fact, this whole chart is trash. Yeah, I said it.”
Noah said the chart is too complicated.
“I have to sit here trying to interpret reds and yellows and greens — there’s outdoor/indoor, partial indoor, outdoor with the people who might be vaccinated, partially vaccinated. This is unreadable,” he said.
He noted the CDC spent five months telling Americans “get vaccinated, and this will all be over.”
“But now, now they’re putting out a chart, and it says even if you get vaccinated, you can only do two more things without a mask on?” he asked.
“You’re telling us these new vaccines are 95% effective and will stop coronavirus, but we still can’t do anything without a mask on anyway? Which is it? Is this one of the most effective vaccines in the history of the world, or does it not work? It’s not clear messaging. Especially if you’re desperately trying to convince people to get the vaccine.”
He said CDC likely “is just trying to cover all the bases because maybe there’s a tiny chance you could get corona even if you’re vaccinated.”
“But if that messaging ends up convincing people that there’s not much of a reason to get vaccinated at all, then we’re shooting ourselves in the foot,” he said.
See Trevor Noah:
‘But isn’t it a weird situation?’
Wednesday morning on NBC’s “Today,” co-host Savannah Guthrie observed to Biden’s top health adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, that there seems to be a “disconnect” in the federal government’s mask policy.
She asked Fauci when children, who have been shown to be at very low risk of infection and transmission, will be able to play without masks.
Fauci said that will happen when they are vaccinated. But now “they are more at risk of getting infected.”
High school students, he said, will likely get vaccinated in the fall term and children by the end of the year.
But now, he said, children “are more at risk of getting infected because they are out in the community where there is a lot of infection.”
“When the community level starts to go way down, the risks to everybody, including the children, is going to be dramatically diminished,” Fauci said.
Guthrie was perplexed by the CDC rule allowing her, though not fully vaccinated, to take off her mask while walking home with her daughter. But her daughter can’t take off her mask.
“But isn’t it a weird situation?” she asked. “Because I’m not fully vaccinated yet. I can take off my mask and walk home. She can’t. Like, doesn’t that just point up that the CDC guidelines, there’s some kind of disconnect, if that’s the situation?”
“Well, yeah,” Fauci replied. “What you’re pointing out — what you’re referring to, Savannah is the top two not fully vaccinated, that people can go out without masks, if you walk, run, with members of your household, attend a small outdoor gathering, fully vaccinated with friends. Then after that, everything has a mask on it, as you’re showing correctly now on the screen. So, what you’re asking, if you are on the left-hand part and you see unvaccinated people, walk outdoors with members of your household. And you’re asking now if your child is a member of your household, can you walk outdoors with your child without a mask? According to that chart, the answer is yes.”
“But the child can’t?” she wondered. “Not to beat it to death.”
“Yes, yes,” Fauci replied.
See the “Today” interview:
‘There is lots of good news’
Dr. Marty Makary, a public health expert and professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins University, noted Wednesday that the U.S. daily COVID cases are “plummeting,” down 25% in the last two weeks.
He said on Twitter the data show that the outbreaks among young people in five states that had recent surges are also down by 30% in the last two weeks.
San Francisco had only 20 COVID cases yesterday, he noted.
“There is lots of good news.”
He observed that previously, COVID-19 was far deadlier and more prevelant than the seasonal flu.
But now COVID daily cases and new hospitalizations are well below the flu season peak in 2015-2016, which was the mildest flu season in eight years.
He explained that the COVID infection fatality rate is also down to flu levels because cases have moved to younger people.
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