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Statement from APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD
“The American Public Health Association supports today’s new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommends everyone wear masks indoors in areas with high COVID-19 transmission rates.
For many Americans, this advice is a dramatic reversal of where we were just months ago, when we seemed to be turning a corner against COVID-19. But science has shown increasing rates of infections, leaving CDC with no choice but to change its recommendation, which we applaud.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, continues to evolve and mutate. The delta variant is now the predominant strain in the U.S. While we know that COVID-19 vaccines are very effective at reducing serious illness and death, vaccinated people could carry higher levels of the virus than previously understood and potentially transmit it to others.
We are seeing increasing rates of infections, especially in certain areas of the country where people have resisted vaccinations. The number of breakthrough cases in people who have been vaccinated is rising at a frightening rate. We are going backward in our response to a pandemic that we have every available tool to address.
CDC’s new evidence-based recommendation on masks must be acknowledged as more than a wake-up call. This is sound public health advice that, along with vaccination, can help stop the spread of the virus and get us back on track to protecting our families, our communities and our nation.”
The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at www.apha.org.