Why now is the time the CDC chose to loosen masking restrictions


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State will adopt the updated CDC masking recommendations beginning Wednesday.

Under the CDC recommendations, people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not have to wear masks or social distance in most indoor settings – and all outdoor settings. There are some excepts for public transportation – including planes, trains, and buses – and settings like schools, health care facilities, and prisons.

Dr. Mathew Devine, the Medical Director at Highland Family Medicine, discussed the new CDC recommendations and what they mean locally Tuesday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“The CDC has had about six months worth of data to review since we began vaccinating people,” said Dr. Devine. “This is a culmination of some of the things they’ve reviewed in regards to how we can be together now that we’ve received the vaccination. That’s really what it’s all about, is continuing to learn and evolve with the virus.”

Dr. Devine explained that some health officials have reservations about the new CDC guidance being adopted in New York State. “With the new guidance, this means that essentially anyone can go mask-free indoors since we do not require any proof or forms that vaccination has occurred. Since this a kind of honor system, it might jeopardize others who are not vaccinated, including children under the age of 12 who can’t get vaccinated yet and adults who might be at more risk than they think.”

As it relates to Gov. Cuomo’s announcement that New York will follow the CDC recommendations, Dr. Devine said, “I think every state has to look at what their certain policies have been to date and their vaccination rates. I think, essentially, the Governor looked over all the information and said these are the benefits of getting vaccinated. And so, therefore, they were able to look over all of the information and offer the same guidelines the CDC just recently published.”

Dr. Devine noted the exceptions to the CDC guidance, specifically the need for masking in health care settings regardless of your vaccination status. “In Clinical settings, we are still seeing individuals who have other illnesses and diseases. For the near and probably long-terms we’ll see individuals who will still need to wear masks and social distance as well.”

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