Is the CDC’s ultra-cautious approach to relaxing masking and distancing guidelines feeding vaccine hesitancy?

Credit: Chris Delmas/AFP
Credit: Chris Delmas/AFP

[The CDC said April 27 that] fully vaccinated people can unmask at small outdoor gatherings or when dining outside with friends from multiple households — activities the CDC said require unvaccinated people to still wear a mask.

But some experts say the new guidance is too cautious and doesn’t offer a strong enough incentive for Americans who still are on the fence about getting a shot or who may have already been unmasking in those settings.

“It doesn’t go far enough,” Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, told CNN on [April 27]. 

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“If you tell people that you can do just about anything if you are vaccinated, that is telling people that you have confidence in the vaccines,” Reiner said. “But what’s the message to the country when you tell people who are fully vaccinated ‘Be wary of crowded locations?’ You’re casting doubt on the efficacy of the vaccine. And I don’t think there is any doubt on the efficacy of these vaccines.”

Government and CDC officials say the vaccines are extremely effective. But they say there’s still good reason to be cautious, as the country is still reporting a stunningly high number of daily Covid-19 cases and tens of millions of Americans remain unvaccinated and unprotected.

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