National nurses organization urges CDC to reinstate universal mask wearing

National Nurses United urged CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, to reinstate the agency's recommendation that everyone wear masks in public, regardless of vaccination status, in a July 12 letter.

This comes as the delta COVID-19 variant, first detected in India, fuels surges across the U.S. As of July 14, COVID-19 hospitalizations were trending upward in 31 states.

"It should come as no surprise that cases are rising following the rapid reopening of many
states and the removal of public health measures, including the CDC’s May 13 guidance
update that told vaccinated individuals they no longer needed to wear masks, observe
physical distancing, avoid crowds, or get tested or isolate after an exposure, within only a
few exceptions," the letter said. "The CDC’s guidance failed to account for the possibility — which preliminary data from the United Kingdom and Israel now indicates is likely — of infection
and transmission of the virus, especially variants of concern, by fully vaccinated individuals."

The union also urged the CDC to:

  • Update guidance to fully recognize aerosol transmission.
  • Track all COVID-19 infections among healthcare workers and other essential workers.
  • Track all breakthrough infections, or cases that occur among fully vaccinated people, including mild and asymptomatic infections. Currently, the CDC only monitors breakthrough cases that lead to hospitalization or death.

    To read the full letter, click here.

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