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Healthcare coverage from WYPR is made possible by support from GBMC HealthCare.

Local Health Experts Weigh In On CDC Guidelines

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PUBLIC DOMAIN
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Some health experts are questioning the CDC’s new masking guidelines. The agency announced Thursday afternoon that fully vaccinated people can go unmasked in most indoor settings.

Molly Hyde, an infection preventionist at GBMC HealthCare, said following the new guidelines is technically safe, but she has concerns.

“Where I worry is the implementation,” Hyde told WYPR Friday afternoon. “Implementing this guidance is going to be incredibly hard, because we can't verify who is and is not vaccinated.”

Hyde also reminded Marylanders that they aren’t immune to COVID-19 immediately after being vaccinated. For people who have just gotten fully vaccinated, building immunity takes time, typically about two weeks.

Dr. Mona Gahunia, an infectious disease physician from Kaiser Permanente, said the CDC is promoting the efficacy of the vaccine with its new guidelines.

“We want all Americans to know that and to take their opportunity to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Gahunia said.

Gahunia recommends that fully vaccinated people continue wearing masks in crowded indoor settings. She also is hopeful that the new guidelines will motivate people to get vaccinated.

“Everybody wants to get back to a more normal way of life. And when you can see things are opening up, if you're vaccinated, you can more safely do so many things,” Gahunia said. “I would think that that would really be a great motivator to people.

But Hyde isn’t so sure.

“I do think it is going to incentivize some people. I think there's other people who are just not going to be incentivized by anything,” she said. “There are some people who are very adamantly against masks, and are simply going to use this as a way to take off their mask without actually getting the vaccine.”

Hyde also said that state and local governments should hold off on adopting CDC guidelines if they are still seeing substantial transmission rates.

“It may be better to wait until we see a further drop in transmission, which we do expect to see as we go on to the next months and maybe implemented when we see transmission levels that are lower,” she said.

Later Friday afternoon, Gov. Larry Hogan announced that he is lifting a statewide masking mandate, effective Saturday.