The CDC’s announcement that vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks in most indoor or outdoor settings set off a wave of relief for millions of Americans. But the left is now calling CDC’s credibility into question while the right is skeptical of the timing of the announcement.
The CDC updated their guidance to allow people who are “fully vaccinated” to not have to wear masks in most indoors situations, matching another recent guidance saying the same for outdoors activity.
- Some situations that may still require a mask are “crowded indoor settings” like public transportation, prisons, and homeless shelters.
- The guidance also means vaccinated people can largely ignore social distancing requirements.
- The White House and Democrat strategists are framing it as a major milestone, with one senior Democratic operative comparing it to V-E or V-J Days, in which the Allies defeated the Nazis and Japanese respectively to end World War II.
- Despite the upbeat news cycle, it has been reported young people are still scared, as polling shows 75% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 want vaccination requirements before returning to work or school.
- CNN’s analysis of the announcement centered around the CDC’s credibility, saying the agency has typically been cautious but may have been too quick and “suddenly gone too far.”
- Vox framed the CDC’s announcement as “leaping ahead of the criticisms” that the agency was being too timid and not championing the success and availability of vaccines.
- The New York Times followed CNN’s lead, painting a darker picture of the state of the pandemic and questioning whether it was too quick or too soon, saying “the recommendations came as a surprise to many people in public health.”
- Fox News and the Spectator US focused on questions from Republican lawmakers who wonder whether the CDC announcement was an effort to get embarrassing or difficult headlines, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Colonial pipeline hack, for the White House out of the news.
- Townhall lamented several blue states and companies not immediately lifting mask mandates based on the new CDC guidance, calling out New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for saying he always relied on the facts” with respect to the coronavirus pandemic. The thousands of elderly people whose deaths in nursing homes he is ultimately responsible for after ignoring the science must have slipped his mind.
- The Daily Caller reported on efforts by GOP House members urging Speaker Pelosi to remove some of the restrictions on House operations, who say that most members of Congress have been vaccinated and this is an easy way for elected officials to lead by example.
The way CNN and New York Times covered the CDC’s new guidance suggests they’re giving cover to what will likely be a surprisingly large portion of the population (though nowhere near a majority) who will continue to wear masks, despite their vaccination status, as a political or social statement. The idea that “you’ll be able to tell who’s fully vaccinated because we’ll be the ones wearing masks” is worthy of a gold medal in mental gymnastics.
That being said, whether it’s the New York Times now doubting the CDC or the right’s suspicion the announcement was a smokescreen to help Biden in the headlines, the cynicism is tiresome. Heck, some of it may even be true, but that these angles were the first to be reported is another example of media’s sensationalist bent.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021