CDC Mask Mess Unmasked

Vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans are dropping their masks as the CDC is taking hits for recent murky guidance. 

  • “I think people are misinterpreting, thinking that this is a removal of a mask mandate for everyone. It's not”—it’s merely an assurance for the vaccinated, NIAID director Anthony Fauci told Axios ahead of its virtualvaccine rollout event (12:30 p.m ET today).

Key groups are at risk:

People ineligible for the vaccine due to health conditions or age:

  • “It’s not good public health advice to say to parents whose kids can’t get vaccinated, just trust the public to do the right thing,” tweeted health wonk Ann O'Leary, per Axios.

People the vaccines aren’t protecting well:

  • Many Americans with underlying conditions, like certain blood cancers or organ transplants, are finding the shots aren’t working—and they feel left behind as the country opens up, The Washington Post reports.
  • “The overwhelming majority of transplant patients, even after a second dose of the vaccine, appear to have suboptimal protection—if any protection — from the vaccine, which is frightening, disappointing and a bit surprising,” said Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researcher Dorry Segev.


  • The CDC’s move could be a fatal blow to efforts to require masks’ blanket use in workplaces, endangering already-vulnerable essential workers, POLITICO reports.
  • The nurses’ union also says the CDC’s revised advice relied on “data that is incomplete, not yet peer reviewed, potentially biased, or show poor statistical certainty.”

The Takeaway: The advice to vaccinated people, ignoring the fact many others would not be vaccinated, is “a Public Health 101 failure,” said George Washington University School of Public Health epidemiologist David Michaels.

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