Statement: Response to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s revised Mask Guidance for Vaccinated Persons

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 20, 2021
Contact: Kristi Barnes | kristi.barnes@nysna.org  |  646-853-4489  
Carl Ginsburg | carl.ginsburg@nysna.org | 917-405-1060

In response to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s revised Mask Guidance for Vaccinated Persons, the NYSNA Board of Directors released the following statement:

The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) continues to strongly support a mandatory mask policy, particularly in settings where physical distancing cannot be achieved and when an individual cannot determine who has been fully vaccinated.   While everyone is eager to resume our pre-COVID lives, the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), representing more than 42,000 registered nurses in the state of New York, has serious concerns about the health ramification of this change for both the public and workers. 

The CDC’s new guidance ignores the unfortunate politicization of masking and vaccinations in American society and seems to believe that everyone will be honest about whether or not they have been vaccinated. It is likely that many people who have not been vaccinated, or are not yet fully vaccinated, will remove their masks.

The CDC provides no guidance for enforcing the new mask recommendation, where mandatory masking will now only include indoor spaces in healthcare, public transportation and schools. Our frontline, essential workers will bear the brunt of this new policy—both in terms of having to police who is allowed to be unmasked, and through their own increased exposure to COVID-19.

We know is that the risk of COVID-19 transmission indoors remains high. Over 30,000 new COVID infections are diagnosed every day in the U.S., and hundreds of people continue to die every single day.

Only 37.5% of people in the United States are fully vaccinated. In New York State, approximately 42.2% of people are fully vaccinated. [1]

This crisis is far from over. If the CDC errs on the side of safety, there may be some unnecessary inconvenience. But when it errs in the opposite direction, the public’s health, and many lives, may be lost.

Read NYSNA’s full position statement HERE.

References

[1] https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations 

About NYSNA

We are 42,000 nurses working together to win safe staffing, keep hospitals open for care, stop the Wall Street attack on our patients, and win healthcare for all.