The CDC Proves Incapable Of Putting Together A Coherent Message On COVID-19 Guidelines

(Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky appeared to walk back travel guidance for those who have already received COVID-19 vaccinations during a Friday press briefing.

New guidance released by the CDC on April 2 says that individuals who are “are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States” without self-quarantining or testing. However, during a press conference explaining the guidance, Walensky said that she “advocate[s] against general travel over all.”

This is not the first time Biden administration officials struggled with public health messaging surrounding COVID-19.

Here are some other examples.

Social Distancing In Schools

As a Harvard University professor in July 2020, Walensky recommended that her local school district separate children by three feet to prevent the spread of coronavirus. After entering the Biden administration, however, Walensky said that schools should maintain six feet between students. The CDC changed its social distancing guidance for schools from six feet to three feet in March.

Teacher Vaccinations

Walensky and Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci both said that teacher vaccinations should not be a prerequisite for reopening schools, with Fauci describing vaccinating all teachers prior to reopening as a “nonworkable solution.”

Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Feb. 3 that Walensky was speaking in her “personal capacity” on the vaccine issue, even as she spoke at an official press conference on the same day. Therefore, Walensky did not represent the Biden administration’s stance on the issue. (RELATED: White House Walks Back CDC Statement That Teachers Don’t Need COVID-19 Vaccine)

The CDC’s official reopening guidelines released on Feb. 12 said that teachers do not need to be vaccinated before returning to schools, although they did suggest that states place teachers in a higher vaccination tier.

Infection And Transmission

Walensky told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on March 30 that “vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick, and that it’s not just in the clinical trials but it’s also in real world data.”

The very next day, a CDC spokesman told the New York Times that Walensky spoke too broadly and that the agency is “continuing to evaluate the evidence” on whether or not people who have received COVID-19 vaccinations can carry the virus or contract it.

Multiple studies indicate that COVID-19 vaccines prevent both viral infection and transmission. Studies conducted in the United States and Israel found that vaccinations reduce the transmission of the virus by reducing a coronavirus patient’s viral load.

A CDC study released on April 1 found that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines reduce infection rates by as much as 90%.