Michigan's Chief Medical Executive responds to new CDC mask recommendations

Posted at 11:15 AM, Jul 28, 2021

Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive is reacting to the new recommendations from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC announced Tuesday it is changing its recommendations when it comes to masking up. During a press briefing Dr. Rochelle Walensky from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that to stop the spread of the Delta Variant, the CDC is recommending people wear masks when around others in-doors.

Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention referenced studies that found vaccinated people when sick with the Delta Variant are contagious. The CDC said the recommendation is especially key in areas where we are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive, says she would not call what we are seeing in Michigan a “surge”, cases are going in the wrong direction and risk levels may be are changing.

“I am still concerned that we are seeing increases in our cases across the entire state. Masks have proven time and time again to be effective at preventing the spread of this virus. I am concerned about the more easily transmitted delta variant, so yes, I think more people should be wearing masks at this point,” said Dr. Khaldun.

The CDC says there is new data indicating that even vaccinated people can be contagious if they suffer a break-through case of COVID-19 due to the delta variant. Dr. Khaldun and the CDC say don’t think this recommendation means the vaccine doesn’t work. It can decrease your risk of getting sick with symptoms seven-fold.

“The overwhelming ability to prevent hospitalization and death is amazing with the delta variant as well,” said Dr. Andrew Jameson, MD, Division Chief of Infectious Diseases for Trinity Health Michigan, when talking about the benefits of getting vaccinated.

Dr. Jameson says it is not surprising that The CDC is also specifically mentioning schools, recommending universal masking in schools.

“We have seen more kids infected in the south than we did previously. We have seen younger and younger kids get hospitalized and very ill. So this is not something to take lightly. We want to do everything we can to keep them safe,” said Dr. Jameson

Bob McCann with the K-12 Alliance of Michigan says the challenge school leaders have is that different communities have different levels of risk and believe they should have policies based on local case rates, not a general national recommendation.

“A one size fits all approach here is probably not going to work. And we are probably going to need that every community is given the options to do what is best for their kids,” said McCann.

Dr. Khaldun said state health leaders will continue to review CDC recommendations and monitor the spread of the virus. At this point she is echoing the recommendations, but not calling for new mandates.

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