WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Claudia L. Tenney, R-22, New Hartford, called for the Centers for Disease Controls “to reverse its anti-science decision recommending vaccinated Americans and K-12 students to wear masks.”
The move by the CDC on Tuesday comes in the wake of increasing rising COVID-19 cases, primarily among unvaccinated individuals. Cases, according to CDC and provided by states, are rising in every state, with hospitalizations surging in states with low vaccination rates such as Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi and Missouri. Deaths are also on the rise, officials said.
The CDC’s new recommendation comes less than three months after the agency said masks and social distancing were no longer necessary for people who have been fully vaccinated.
Officials at the CDC said the change in guidance was driven by the delta variant’s higher transmissibility and new evidence from the CDC that in rare cases, fully vaccinated individuals who get infected with the variant can spread the virus just as easily as unvaccinated people.
“This recent change by the CDC demonstrates once again that federal bureaucrats continue to erode our freedoms, while completely disregarding the facts,” said Tenney.
“The vaccine works and Americans who want a vaccine can receive one. But it should never be mandated and if they do receive it, they should not then be forced to wear a mask. The vaccine mandates being pushed in New York and elsewhere are unconstitutional. Americans should be able to make their own health care decisions,” the Republican congresswoman added.
“The CDC’s director said recently that breakthrough infections that occur in vaccinated Americans can be contagious only in ‘rare occasions.’ The fact is vaccinated Americans are still at significantly less risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. The science has also consistently demonstrated that children and schools, especially elementary schools, are not significant for transmission,” said Tenney.
The CDC’s revised position was announced by Rochelle Walensky, a physician, who is the director of the CDC and administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Before her appointment at the CDC, she was the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of medicine at Harvard University’s Medical School.
“This bait and switch by the CDC is a knee-jerk reaction to political pressure from activists, not scientists. It is going to harm our nation’s vaccination efforts, not help them. Parents know what is best for their kids, and children two and above should not be forced to wear a mask as the CDC is now recommending,” Tenney said.
The surge in cases, health officials at the CDC say, is overwhelming driven by the unvaccinated.
According to CDC and individual state estimates, some 56% of U.S. residents age 12 and older have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Among those hospitalized or killed by the virus, since April 2021, nearly 95% have been unvaccinated, the CDC and states report.