President Joe Biden has signaled his support for new guidelines advising mask use among vaccinated Americans in many indoor public settings to reduce the possibility of so-called breakthrough COVID-19 cases.
Subsequent reports, however, have signaled that the scientific evidence does not support such a mandate.
In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that vaccinated individuals no longer needed to wear a mask indoors. That policy changed last month.
An updated CDC guideline asserted: “To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.”
The agency further called on the nation’s schools to require staff, students, and visitors to resume indoor mask use regardless of vaccination status.
According to the Daily Caller, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky defended the advisory by claiming that in order to “make sure that our kids can safely get back to full, in-person learning in the fall, we’re recommending that everybody wear masks right now.”
The decision is said to be based in part on a study of a COVID-19 breakthrough cluster in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Notably, that case involved just 127 vaccinated individuals who became infected during an Independence Day celebration at multiple indoor establishments in the area.
That outbreak appears to be an anomaly, as one report found that “less than 0.2 percent” of the state’s vaccinated residents have experienced a confirmed breakthrough infection.
University of California San Francisco professor Dr. Vinay Prasad reacted to the data by insisting that the case for renewed mask mandates is flimsy at best.
“They’re making these decisions on the basis of extremely weak and unreliable data, and at the same time not doing the necessary work to reduce uncertainty among the population,” said Prasad, who works in the university’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Dr. Monica Gandhi, also of the University of California San Francisco maintained that vaccine mandates would represent a far more effective approach than mask requirements, telling the Daily Caller: “Vaccinated people are less likely to be infected and I agree are less likely to transmit.”