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Opinion | A Divide Over the C.D.C.’s Revised Rules on Masks

To the Editor:

Re “Mask, or No? Much to Weigh in Latest Rules” (front page, May 16):

Lost in the chaotic responses to the C.D.C.’s revised guidance on mask wearing and social distancing for fully vaccinated Americans is a fundamental distinction: “Following the science” is not the same as crafting responsible public policy.

Though well intentioned, and no doubt influenced by political and public pressures, the C.D.C. policy downplays the fact that a substantial majority of Americans are not yet fully vaccinated and cannot all be trusted to follow masking and social distance advice. It also places an unfair burden on businesses — and especially their frontline employees — to enforce masking policies. As we have seen, previous mask mandates have led to disruption and violence. Now, confusion is rampant.

Mandatory masking for mass transportation but not for concerts and other large indoor gatherings makes no sense. We worry about the under-12 population, who remain singled out for mask wearing — an unfair, potentially stigmatizing burden on youngsters.

The C.D.C. needs to return to the drawing board with a clearer focus on responsible public policies for all Americans.

Vicki L.W. Graff
Harvey J. Graff
Columbus, Ohio

To the Editor:

Re “Experts Expected Mandates on Masks to Stand for a Year” (news article, May 15):

The new C.D.C. guidelines that permit going without a mask for the fully vaccinated in most day-to-day activities in the United States are both welcome and surprising. According to your survey of hundreds of epidemiologists outside the C.D.C., they are no doubt surprised, too.

Opinion Conversation
Questions surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine and its rollout.

All along, this crisis has been a fluid one. And so public policy has labored along in fits and starts, and the country is now ready to try to get things moving.

All along, there have been those who have been less cautious. There will continue to be many who will remain more cautious.

What we are being told, I believe, is that if you are fully vaccinated, you are no longer a serious risk to yourself or others. We should not be afraid to hear good news. We seem to be out of practice.

Bruce Neuman
Water Mill, N.Y.

To the Editor:

The new C.D.C. guidelines regarding masking are misguided. The media often point to Israel as a source of statistics regarding vaccination success. However, in Israel, which has a much higher vaccination rate, all indoor public spaces are required to enforce masking of all workers and patrons regardless of vaccination status. Any other rules are unenforceable and put a large swath of the population at risk.

I, and most other people, can avoid restaurants, shops, etc. I cannot avoid my apartment building corridors or elevators. In my case, the C.D.C. guidelines would allow my building manager to put my family members’ lives at risk.

Hanna Shapira
Philadelphia

To the Editor:

Since the C.D.C. announcement I feel like a kid on the last day of school — excited, upbeat, hopeful. Because I trust the science, I am frankly puzzled by the number of fully vaccinated people who are so worried about whether others who unmask are vaccinated. The risk is that there will be an increase in serious cases among the unvaccinated, but being vaccinated means that one risks, at most, a minor infection.

Personally, I will continue to wear a mask where it is mandated or where I am specifically requested to do so. That said, I feel liberated and it feels great!

Anne-Marie Hislop
Chicago

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