coronavirus pandemic

California Nurses Association Urges State to Reject CDC's New Mask Guidance

The president of the state's nurse union called the new CDC mask guidance a big blow to the safety of nurses, front line workers and patients

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Californians are still waiting for word on the mask mandate in the state. It's been more than a few days since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed mask guidelines for vaccinated people.

Now, nurses are asking state leaders to keep the mask rules in place.

Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, the president of the California Nurses Association did not mince words on Sunday night.

Triunfo-Cortez told NBC Bay Area that the new CDC mask guidance is "a big blow to the safety of nurses, frontline workers and patients."

“I am disappointed, I am appalled,” she said. “I know that it is a premature decision that the CDC made. The pandemic is not over. We still have a lot of infected patients. Cases are still high. We still have patients dying and we still have nurses dying as well.”

The nurses association is asking state leaders not to follow the CDC's new mask guidance.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Sunday defended the decision to ease mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, stressing that increasing political pressure had nothing to do with the abrupt shift in guidelines.

“I’m delivering the science as the science is delivered to the medical journals. And it evolved," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on FOX News Sunday. “I deliver it as soon as I can when we have that information available.”

However, partially vaccinated or unvaccinated people should continue wearing masks, the agency said. The guidance also still calls for masks in crowded indoor settings including buses, airplanes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.

The sudden change sparked praise from those eager to return to pre-pandemic life, particularly those who see the new guidelines as a way to reopen workplaces, schools and other venues that went dark during the pandemic.

Yet concerns have been raised from those who say there's no easy way for businesses and others to determine who is fully vaccinated and who is not. Instead, many will have to rely on an honor system as many states and communities have already been lifting mask mandates amid improving virus numbers and as more Americans have been shedding face coverings after getting shots.

To date more than 156 million Americans, or more than 47% of the population, have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 121 million are fully vaccinated.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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