On Tuesday night, CNN host Erin Burnett spoke with CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) shifting position on masks raises a “credibility question.”
“First, they said science and information can change, right?” Burnett began. “We all remember at the very beginning here, mask up even if you’re vaccinated because you could spread it and then — guess what — you can’t spread it, and now, oh my gosh, now you can maybe spread it.”
Burnett went on to say the masking guidance was based on unpublished data.
“So, after changing it from maybe you can spread it, to you definitely can’t, to maybe you can, but it’s really rare — they’re telling you it’s really rare, but you have the same viral load,” Burnett added.
“I mean, Dr. Reiner, it’s really confusing … do they know things they’re not sharing us? It’s a credibility question, isn’t it? We don’t know what rare means.”
Dr. Reiner responded, “Completely … [But] because Delta is bad, we need everyone to vax up, everyone to mask up, both vaccinated and the unvaccinated … This story of occasionally maybe vaccinated people can spread the virus, it just doesn’t ring true to me. It doesn’t ring true.”
The CDC issued new guidelines on Tuesday recommending indoor mask mandates for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
“In areas with substantial and high transmission, CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks in public, indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variants and protect others,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a press briefing.
The CDC’s reversal drew criticism from those who claim it is unnecessary for fully vaccinated individuals to wear masks. According to studies from Canada and the U.K., between 79% to 87% of breakthrough infections from the Delta variant are asymptomatic.
Further, breakthrough infections very rarely lead to a severe case of COVID-19. A recent study from the U.K. found that the Pfizer vaccine is 96% effective against hospitalization, and the AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalization.