Former HHS official applauds ‘data-driven’ easing of CDC mask guidance

By | April 28, 2021

Former Health and Human Services official Dr. Mario Ramirez cheered President Joe Biden‘s support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s masking updates on Tuesday.

“I think the president made the right point today, which is that guidance today is not about politics, it’s a data-driven recommendation that is based on how we see these vaccines behaving in the wild,” said Ramirez. 

The CDC said fully vaccinated people can exercise and attend small gatherings outdoors without wearing a face mask. Biden said the new recommendations underscore the progress that the U.S. has made in beating back Covid. 

Ramirez, a former HHS pandemic and emerging threats coordinator in the Office of Global Affairs, told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” that while the U.S. is trending in the right direction when it comes to vaccinations, officials will have to engage in a “persistent messaging campaign” in order to convince skeptical Americans to get vaccinated. 

In the U.S., 232 million vaccine jabs have been put into arms, according to CDC data, with 43% of the total population having received at least one dose and nearly 20% of the country fully vaccinated. 

Dr. Peter Hotez told “The News with Shepard Smith” on Friday that summertime in the United States could return to a pre-Covid-19 normal if 75% to 80% of the U.S. population is vaccinated.

Ramirez said that an improvement in vaccine convenience will be another helpful step to getting more Americans vaccinated. 

“One of the things we’re looking forward to in the fall is whether vaccine manufacturers can actually bundle a flu and a coronavirus vaccine together, if we can do that, it will go a long way to improving uptake of the vaccine,” said Ramirez. 

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