Dr. Kavita Patel, who served within the Obama administration as director of coverage for the Workplace of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, recently stated on CNBC’s “The News With Shepard Smith” that COVID-19 mask-wearing guidelines are not being updated in facilities nationwide and that the Center for Disease Control & Prevention’s credibility is eroding.
Patel brought up the fact that the CDC was not updating its COVID-19 mask guidance and insisted on workplace and school guidance as the cases of coronavirus are eroding.
“There are men and women working on the lines outside on telephone and electricity lines, and they’re still wearing masks because, in the absence of this guidance, we’re making it up. That actually puts more of us at risk, so this is time to step up. These are the hard parts of government and public health communication, but we desperately need someone to do it,” she said.
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski has also criticized the CDC for their guidelines and even insisted that some of the mask mandates were endangering the work of fishermen. She said that Alaska’s seasonal tourist industry has been plummeting and only growing worse. She points out that the Coast Guard is requiring, by federal law, to wear a mask for the duration of their travel. She said the workers have been more concerned about the liability to have a mask on rather than the prudent marine safety protocols.
“I’ve got fishermen, commercial fishermen that are out there in the water. I’ve got crabbers, and salmon fishermen, and cod fishermen that are trying to deal with a mask because they’re concerned about the failure to comply. This is more of a safety hazard than anything. You’re out on a boat. The winds are howling. Your mask is soggy wet. Tell me–tell me how anybody thinks that this is a sane and a sound policy to do,” Murkowski said.
Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan agreed with Murkowski that the CDC needs to get the guidance to the fishing industry out as quickly as possible. She said they’ve got boats of fishermen at the Yankee Fisherman’s co-op in New Hampshire who are fully vaccinated and the Coast Guard is telling them to keep their masks on.
“Not only is a wet mask dangerous out on the open water, but because of the noise, both the wind and the equipment, these guys are used to relying on kind of sign language on the boat. And with a mask on, they really can’t, and it’s a real safety issue,” Hassan said.
Several Republicans have also called for clarification on the conflicting guidance from the CDC, especially ones that relate to schools and summer camps. Sen. Susan Collins told CDC Director Rochelle Walensky that these mandates undermine public confidence in the recommendations that make sense and the ones that Americans should be following, as well as the vaccines at hand. They have urged officials to be more “real” in the guidance they issue and how it affects the people having to follow them.
Reporters recently asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki if the American public was “tuning out scientists” on the steps to be taking after vaccination. She responded that the decision to follow the CDC is a “matter of principle” and that their objective is to ensure that they aren’t making political decisions. Psaki even shared during the press briefing that she was “tired of wearing a mask too” and said the need for restrictions will wane as more people get vaccinated.
But President Joe Biden has spawned confusion for his consistent mask-wearing outdoors, even when he is alone and despite getting vaccinated. He has even pointed to a July 4 deadline for the CDC guidance to allow “more privileges to take off that mask.” If there’s anything political about mask-wearing, it’s about giving a deadline when you can take one off.