Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky is being pressed on why vaccinated people have to “pay the price” and wear masks as COVID-19 cases are on the rise again.
During an appearance on CNN’s “New Day,” Walensky was asked by host John Berman, “Exactly what problem does the delta variant create that masks for vaccinated people solves?”
“With prior variants, when people had these rare breakthrough infections, we didn’t see the capacity of them to spread the virus to others,” she responded. “But with the delta variant, we now see in our outbreak investigations that have been occurring over the last couple of weeks, in those outbreak investigations, we have been seeing that if you happen to have one of those breakthrough infections, that you can actually now pass it to somebody else.”
She also told Berman that a recent CDC brief that stated that “any associated transmission risk is likely to be substantially reduced in vaccinated people” is “no longer operative.”
“The science that prompted this guidance is just days old. And in the coming days you will actually see the published information on the science that motivated this change,” she said.
While Walensky noted that most transmission is occurring between unvaccinated individuals, she stressed the CDC wanted to inform vaccinated people that they can possibly transmit the virus.
Watch the video below:
.@CDCDirector Dr. Rochelle Walensky on the new mask guidance: "With prior variances, when people had these rare breakthrough infections, we didn't see the capacity of them to spread the virus to others. But with the Delta variant … you can actually now pass it to somebody else" pic.twitter.com/K1qvfjNUrX
— New Day (@NewDay) July 28, 2021
Berman asked, “But predominantly, this is something coming from unvaccinated people to unvaccinated people, correct?”
“For the most part, absolutely,” Walenksy affirmed.
The host pressed, “You can understand the frustration in those of us who are vaccinated saying, ‘Why the hell do I have to pay the price for this?’”
“Right. So we’re asking everybody in those areas of orange and red to mask up. Here is the reason why, if you’re a vaccinated person and you’re in one of those areas, as you said, a sea of red, a sea of Covid, you have a reasonably high chance, if nobody is wearing a mask, to interact with people who may be infectious,” Walensky said.
She added, “Every 20 vaccinated people, one or two of them could get a breakthrough infection. They may only get mild disease, but we wanted them to know that they could bring that mild disease home.”
Berman’s comments come a day after the CDC unveiled new guidelines that recommend that vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas with “high” or “substantial” transmission of the virus.
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