BREAKING: CDC to issue new guidelines telling vaccinated to "mask off"

AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool

Do vaccinated people need to wear masks? Not outside, in crowds or not, nor apparently inside either, although that has more caveats in the new CDC guidance coming later today. The Associated Press reports that Rochelle Walensky will issue the new advice this afternoon, just two days after getting ripped in Congress for abandoning science on vaccinations and immunity.

I mean, this is pretty much common knowledge already — only the CDC seems to have problems comprehending it:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday will ease indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks inside in most places, according to a person briefed on the announcement.

The new guidance will still call for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but could ease restrictions for reopening workplaces and schools.

It will also no longer recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks outdoors in crowds. The announcement comes as the CDC and the Biden administration have faced pressure to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated people — people who are two weeks past their last required COVID-19 vaccine dose — in part to highlight the benefits of getting the shot.

Just to remind everyone, this isn’t just updating old guidance. It directly contradicts what the CDC declared two weeks ago:

The eased guidance comes two weeks after the CDC recommended that fully vaccinated people continue to wear masks indoors in all settings and outdoors in large crowds.

This is why Susan Collins ripped the CDC during Walensky’s testimony, saying that the agency was no longer a “gold standard” on science and epidemiological advice. What changed scientifically over the last two weeks? Nothing at all, but plenty changed politically. Congress and the media have pressed hard on the CDC’s assumptions that the vaccinated are still at risk in the pandemic, arguing — logically — that either the vaccines work or they don’t.

That culminated at a meeting at the White House on Tuesday, in which Joe Biden got pushed by Utah’s governor to start acting as though the vaccines work:

“I would like to say that we have fully vaccinated people; we should start acting like it,” Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, told Biden. “And that’s a big motivation get the unvaccinated to want to to get vaccinated.”

“Good point,” Biden responded. He added, “we’re going to be moving on that in the next little bit.”

And voila! Suddenly the guidance has changed, and not just for outdoors — where the risk of transmission is beyond microscopic even for the unvaccinated — but now for indoors as well, with exceptions for high-density situations. This new guidance has nothing to do with changing scientific data, but is the result of political pressure being brought to bear on the CDC and White House to quit undermining vaccinations by pretending they don’t matter.

We’ll have more later on the impact all of this has had on the credibility of public health agencies. Needless to say, this clown show isn’t helping, and this episode highlights the strange decision to leave the oft-overruled Walensky in charge at the CDC … or anywhere else.