Even experts think the CDC's being too cautious with COVID guidance

Experts, like Emory University’s Carlos del Rio, have criticized the guidance as too timid, and everyone from talk show hosts, like Noah of “The Daily Show,” to public health experts, like Virginia Tech’s Linsey Marr, have complained that the guidance, with a color-coded chart attempting to explain when to wear a mask, is too confusing. Even those who vociferously defended the CDC in interviews with STAT admitted that the CDC’s masking guidelines could have been clearer.

“They were going in the right direction,” said Howard Koh, who served as assistant secretary for health during the Obama administration. “I expect that future versions of those graphics and recommendations will be simplified and updated sooner rather than later.”...

Multiple experts told STAT that they fear the CDC’s recommendations are becoming irrelevant for most Americans. They worry, too, that guidelines, like the CDC’s advice on masking, so seriously underplay the benefits of getting vaccinated that they risk dissuading people from getting a shot in the first place.

“It looks like there’s still confusion, and what people are wanting from the CDC … is more certainty,” said Glen Nowak, a 14-year veteran of the CDC’s communications department who now teaches at the University of Georgia. Nowak added that people want certainty from the CDC rather than “what ifs,” and that they want to know “if you do believe in these vaccines, why do you show so much trepidation regarding these vaccines?”