ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — If you have ditched your mask because you're vaccinated, health care workers are urging you to reconsider.
The country's largest labor union of registered nurses called National Nurses United is asking the CDC to revise its COVID -19 guidance.
They're requesting four things including reinstating the recommendation for everyone to wear masks while in public or around people who don't live with them.
They also want the CDC to fully recognize aerosol transmission of the virus, require tracking and reporting of infections of health care workers and other essential workers, and for the CDC to track infections among those who are fully vaccinated.
Union president Deborah Burger says they have not received a response yet. She says the union wrote the letter to the CDC because the number of COVID-19 cases have doubled in the last few weeks due to the Delta variant.
“Nurses and health care workers that are on the front lines are concerned because people business is usual right now. Everyone’s going back to “normal” yet in the hospitals, that’s not what we’re seeing,” Burger said.
The number of cases has been increasing in recent weeks, thanks in part to the Delta variant which is more transmissible than what was circulating when the pandemic began. Take a look at this CDC chart of cases in Florida.
Recent daily cases look more like the numbers we were seeing in mid-April when vaccines were just becoming more widely available. On Tuesday, the state had 6,425 new cases and our moving average was 5,178. The state puts out a new weekly report Friday.
Dr. Jill Roberts with USF health says we're nowhere near herd immunity here in Florida, and the CDC's guidance was a little premature.
“I think what the CDC was aiming for was giving people a positive viewpoint on returning to a normal life if you are vaccinated. And it’s not the worse idea, the idea being of course maybe you could convince more people to get vaccinated. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s happened. Vaccination rates are plummeting and the reality is we’re just not there yet,” Dr. Roberts said.
She recommends that everyone wear a mask.
“Going to the grocery store, going to movie theaters, and doing all these other things, restaurants, it’s probably a good idea to continue to wear that mask,” Dr. Roberts said. “You want to protect the people around you. You want to protect yourself from the people around you and so unfortunately the vaccine is not 100 percent and again, less than half the people are vaccinated anyway.”
She also says parents should plan on having their kids wear a mask when they return to school in the fall.
Vaccines for children under 12 should be available in October.
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