There’s a lot to be said, most of it not good, about the CDC’s new COVID guidelines, but there are three issues worth focusing on.
First, while some COVID safety policies are relaxed, it’s worth noting that the CDC is recommending mask wearing, including KN95s and N95s, when Community Levels are High: “All persons should wear well-fitting masks or respirators indoors in public at high COVID-19 Community Levels.” Right now, forty percent of counties in the U.S. are at a ‘high’ level, though it’s worth noting that a quick eyeballing of the data suggests that the percentage of people living in high counties is likely much higher. For example, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland combined have the same population as the entire state of Nebraska (also worth noting that the ‘Community Level’ has very little to do with actual prevalence of COVID, and is focused on hospital capacity).
All that said, I don’t think most people realize that, when you’re indoors in forty percent of counties, you should be wearing a mask. Instead, people seem to be hearing, “There are fewer restrictions now.” A catastrophic failure of communication.
Second, comparing the new guidelines to the CDC guidance about COVID prevention, there is no mention in that guidance–which is far more likely to read by non-experts–about when you should wear masks indoors. Again, another communications failure.
Third, despite all the CDC blather about ‘giving people the tools they need’, which is a Trumpian-level lie, we’re not being given even the information we need about COVID prevalence (that is, how many infected people there are). There still is no reason why hospitals can’t be required to release their asymptomatic and symptomatic patient intake data (i.e., what percentage of people who seem to have COVID or do not actually test positive).
I think our political and public health betters have decided the new normal is 100,000-150,000 deaths per year, with a lot of long-term or permanent disability even among the vaccinated. They’re not going to spend the money on ventilation that we should, and they’re not even encouraging mask wearing in any meaningful way. Murderous and cruel.
Anger is the appropriate emotion.