JACKSONVILLE, Floride – There was a sense of a return to normalcy when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks.
The World Health Organization came out on Friday and said the masks should stay in place.
“Physical distancing, avoid overcrowding – this continues to be extremely important, even if you are vaccinated,” said Dr Mariangela Simao, WHO deputy director general.
But before pulling those masks out of retirement, Chad Neilsen, director of accreditation and infection prevention at UF Health Jacksonville, said, “I don’t mean take it with a grain of salt, just understand. where the World Health Organization comes from and who they are talking to with that data.
Neilsen explains that the WHO makes general statements for countries as small as Indonesia and as large as Russia.
“I basically follow the recommendations of the CDC,” said Dr. Sunil Joshi, president of the Duval County Medical Society Foundation.
Like Neilsen, Joshi said he recommends his patients follow CDC guidelines.
The CDC says, “Fully vaccinated people can resume their activities without wearing a mask or moving away, except as required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local guidelines. in businesses and the workplace. “
“When World Health makes these statements, they’re trying to get a big category message out, regardless of the vaccination rates around the world,” Neilsen said.
According to the CDC, 46% of the United States is fully vaccinated and 54% of the country has had at least one injection.
While those numbers aren’t as high as medical experts now hoped, they still represent the highest percentage among the world’s largest countries in terms of population.
Even against the delta variant, the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are about 90% effective in preventing disease and 94% effective against serious illness and hospitalization. Johnson & Johnson is still collecting data on the performance of its Delta variant vaccine.
“We know the vaccine works,” Neilsen said.
Enough that these medical experts agree that if you are vaccinated in the United States, you can ditch the masks for now.
However, Joshi notes that if you are traveling outside the country, it is best to follow the WHO recommendations and follow that country’s guidelines on masks.
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