listed mask mandate across the United States has been criticized by many as shortsighted. Complete disregard for the lives of vulnerable people.
At a time when the Biden administration is desperate to “get past” the coronavirus pandemic, state health officials are lifting masks mandate in schools and indoor public places, and businesses across the COUNTRY are asking employees to return to work, Politico reported on March 13. However, the outbreak is far from over for millions of Americans, many of whom are highly vulnerable to COVID-19 due to conditions such as chronic illnesses.
These vulnerable groups see the Biden administration’s decision to lift the mask requirement as shortsighted and dangerous, with no consideration for those who do not want to be infected. Grocery shopping, going to school, going to work, going to the doctor — these are all things that susceptible people have to do.
Several advocacy groups expressed these concerns in recent meetings with the Biden administration but were deeply disappointed with the process. “COVID-19 is far from over, and what the CDC is doing is not taking into account people with weakened immune systems and disabilities,” said Elena Kong, director of a support group for chronically ill and disabled children.
Earlier this year, she met with C.D.C. officials to ask the agency to keep the mask rule in place to protect people with weakened immunity. When she learned later that the C.D.C. would no longer require people to wear masks, she felt “betrayed.”
Last month, the CDC said in updated guidelines that about 70 percent of Americans do not need to wear a mask indoors. On March 10, the agency updated its guidelines again, saying that about 98 percent of the US population lives in areas with low enough COVID-19 transmission levels that people living in those areas do not need to wear masks indoors.
Patients with cancer, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, and organ transplants are more likely to become severely ill after contracting COVID-19, the report notes. According to a February poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly half of Americans say it’s too soon to lift quarantine rules like wearing masks indoors, Forty-nine percent of adults are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” that easing restrictions could lead to more deaths in their communities. In addition, 61 percent of respondents were “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” that the new measures would ignore people with lower immunity.
Ezekiel Emanuel, a former White House official, noted that even healthy, vaccinated people have more to worry about. He agreed that the recommendation to remove masks was “premature” given that the number of confirmed cases remained relatively high.
Matthew Cortland, an advocate for people with disabilities, said he was disturbed by the government’s easing of quarantine measures that would have protected vulnerable people. “Their guidelines devalue the lives of the chronically ill, the immunocompromised, and the disabled,” he criticized.