ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — Throughout the pandemic, there have been a handful of amendments to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on face coverings.
The back and forth has confused and polarized some Americans.
It’s something Dr. Cecil Bennett deals with every day in his Georgia private practice. His patients frequently ask when they will be finally safe to take the masks off?
“First we’re told don’t wear a mask, then we’re told wear a mask. Then we ran into the issue of whether or not we should double mask or not,” said Bennett. “CDC always errs on the side of extreme caution.”
He’s one of a growing number of physicians and health experts urging the agency to do away with its outdoor mask guidance.
“If you look at the data worldwide, it’s been pretty clear that the risk of COVID its been pretty clear that the risk of getting COVID or transmitting COVID when you’re outside and fully vaccinated…is very, very remote,” said Bennett.
With at least 84 million Americans vaccinated, states are starting to lift the mandates themselves, like New Hampshire.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio hinting at following suit.
“We’re going to have to keep masks and restrictions in place until we’re 100% sure we’re out of the woods, and the best way to know we’re out of the woods is to see those vaccination numbers go up and up and up,” said de Blasio.
Bennett said letting vaccinated people go maskless outdoors could speed up the quest for herd immunity.
“You have people who get vaccinated, and they still have to follow the same guidelines. They try to tell their friends and family members, ‘I think you should get vaccinated as well’ and then the friend say, ‘You know something, I’ll just wait and see.’ Why get vaccinated if you’re doing the same thing you’re doing before?”
One of the first major mask mandate changes at the federal level involves N95 masks. The FDA announced hospitals no longer need to reuse N95 face masks due to plentiful enough supplies. The agency is encouraging hospitals to begin again using one per patient.