Eager to ditch your mask? Not so fast, the nation’s largest nurses union says. National Nurses United has vocally disagreed with the CDC’s new guidance on masks. The CDC said Thursday that fully vaccinated people can go about their business without masks or social distancing, with a few exceptions. With many businesses dropping mask requirements for vaccinated customers, that effectively puts everyone on the honor system. But Bonnie Castillo, executive director of the union, says the move “is not based on science,” the New York Times reports. It’s too soon, the union says, when there are 35,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the US every day, and new, more contagious variants of the novel coronavirus are spreading, per the Hill.
The good news is the CDC based the new guidelines on studies that show the vaccines are effective against all variants in the US, Slate reports. But, the nurses’ union says, the bad news is that relaxing mask guidelines will endanger workers and disproportionately affect people of color. The CDC is also dropping monitoring of breakthrough infections—COVID cases in vaccinated people—which the nurses also condemn, saying this will make it harder to understand what happens when a vaccinated person is exposed to the coronavirus. “We are outraged that the CDC” has relaxed protections in the middle of a deadly pandemic, Castillo told the Times. (The CDC chief says politics played no role in the new guidance.)