Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky did not give a clear answer about what the requirements are needed to get back to a pre-pandemic sense of normalcy during a Friday interview with Fox News host Bret Baier.
A man from Virginia asked Walensky when things would ever get “back to normal,” meaning no mask requirements, and at what percentage of cases and hospitalizations would it no longer be recommended to wear masks. Baier pointed out that it seemed like the requirements were put in place to make sure hospitals were not overwhelmed, but now it seems like the goal is to eliminate the virus.
Walensky said that the number of infections is related to the number of people who have been vaccinated and how well the vaccine works. (RELATED: ‘Personal Responsibility Rather Than Government Mandates’: Gov. Greg Abbott Threatens To Fine Cities If They Require Masks)
“So it is actually quantitatively possible to have 95% protection from hospitalizations and still have a lot of breakthrough infections if most of your population is vaccinated,” she said.
“But is there a normalcy?” Baier asked. “Is the next variant around the corner and that is that something that we’re always going to be on this stop and start with putting masks on or not?”
Walensky said that the updated guidance from the CDC, which now recommends that people wear masks in some indoor settings regardless of vaccination status, was not news that she “expected the American people to welcome.”
“This weighed heavily on me to have to do this,” she said. “But I will also say that this virus has been humbling.”
“And the science continues to change,” Walensky added. “And while that is neither simple nor easy to convey, It’s my responsibility to keep the American people safe. And as that science evolves, I evolve with the CDC, with the guidance. What I will say is I continue to be humbled by this virus.”
She said that she has “no interest in continuing mask guidance” but the best way to stop a new variant is “to get people vaccinated and to mask up until they are.”