The CDC Rightly Contradicts the WHO's Absurdly Cautious Mask Advice for Vaccinated People

Los Angeles County is nevertheless aping the WHO by recommending universal masking "to be extra safe."


Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this week rightly defended the CDC's advice that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear face masks as a safeguard against COVID-19 in most situations. The World Health Organization (WHO), by contrast, says people should continue to cover their faces in public, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.

"People cannot feel safe just because they had the two doses," Mariangela Simao, the WHO's assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products, told reporters last Friday. "Vaccine alone won't stop community transmission. People need to continue to use masks consistently."

The WHO's position is that any risk of infection, no matter how tiny, justifies continued mask use. But as Walensky notes, vaccines are highly effective at preventing mild cases and asymptomatic infection as well as severe cases and deaths. In the rare cases where vaccinated people are infected, the viral load tends to be low, meaning they are less likely to transmit COVID-19. And the evidence indicates that vaccines provide similar protection against newer, more contagious variants of the virus.

Vaccinated people are "really quite protected from the variants that we have circulating here in the United States," Walensky said on NBC's Today show. "We know that the WHO has to make guidelines and provide information to the world. Right now, we know as we look across the globe that less than 15 percent of people around the world have been vaccinated, and many of those people have only received one dose of a two-dose vaccine. There are places around the world that are surging, and so as the WHO makes those recommendations, they do so in that context."

In the United States, by comparison, two-thirds of the adult population is at least partly vaccinated, and 58 percent is fully vaccinated, according to data collected by The New York Times. The seven-day average of daily new cases, per Worldometer's numbers, has fallen by 95 percent since mid-January, from more than 255,000 to fewer than 14,000. The seven-day average of daily deaths, 254 as of yesterday, is down 93 percent.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is nevertheless aping the WHO's advice. "To be extra safe," it says, "it is strongly recommended that you wear masks indoors in public places when you don't know everyone's vaccination status regardless of your vaccination status." In a press release on Monday, the department cited "increase[d] circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant" as the reason it "strongly recommends everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places as a precautionary measure."

The health department concedes that "fully vaccinated people appear to be well protected from infections with Delta variants," although "people with only one vaccine dose of Pfizer or Moderna are not as well-protected." It notes that "the smaller number of COVID-19 infections identified in people who are fully vaccinated have been mild illnesses."

In Los Angeles County, according to the health department's numbers, 68 percent of residents 16 or older and 87 percent of residents 65 or older, who face the highest risk of severe illness and death, have been at least partly vaccinated. The full vaccination rates are 59 percent and 76 percent, respectively. Newly identified cases and daily deaths in L.A. County have fallen precipitously since January. Statewide, the seven-day average of daily new cases is down 97 percent since mid-January, and the seven-day average of daily deaths, 32 as of yesterday, has fallen by 94 percent.

While you can always be "extra safe," there is a cost to every precaution, and vaccinated Californians might reasonably conclude that the inconvenience and discomfort of wearing face masks is not worth the theoretical benefit. The risk that a vaccinated person will be infected was already very low, and it becomes steadily lower as the number of carriers dwindles and the number of vaccinated people rises. The risk that a vaccinated person who defies the odds by becoming infected will transmit the virus to others is likewise low and falling.

Even the CDC says vaccinated people should continue to wear masks when it is legally required. Federal regulation of transportation is the most conspicuous example. But those rules make as much sense as L.A. County's dubious advice—even less in the context of air travel, where the risk of virus transmission has always been low, even when no one was vaccinated. Thanks to the high ventilation standards on commercial aircraft, an airplane is probably the safest indoor environment that most people commonly encounter. The number of COVID-19 cases tied to air travel was tiny even at the height of the pandemic. Since verifying vaccination is perfectly feasible, there is no rational reason for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to continue requiring that vaccinated passengers wear masks.

That rule, which the TSA recently extended until mid-September, is supported by the unions representing pilots and flight attendants. "We understand that masks are a way we keep ourselves and each other safe," says Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, "and we're grateful policymakers are backing us up." If Nelson and her colleagues are vaccinated, their fear of infection is irrational. And if they are not vaccinated, they have some explaining to do, given their eagerness to foist their scientifically dubious notion of safety on others. Airlines tell passengers the mask requirement is for their own protection, which is nonsense, while simultaneously warning them that disobedience will invite stern consequences.

The unions counterintuitively argue that the TSA rule helps prevent onboard conflict. To the contrary, the indiscriminate face mask requirement continues to provoke arguments, which occasionally turn violent, and quiet resentment among many other passengers who keep their objections to themselves lest they be accused of breaking the law by defying the TSA's arbitrary edict. "The Federal Aviation Administration has documented more than 3,000 reports of unruly passengers on flights so far this year," the Times reports, "and 2,350 of those cases have been tied to mask-wearing disputes."

Seemingly oblivious to its own role in making passengers "unruly," the TSA is moving decisively to address the problem. Last week it announced "the commencement of Crew Member Self-Defense (CMSD) training," which had been interrupted by COVID-19 restrictions. "With unruly passenger incidents on the rise," the TSA said, it "remains committed to equip flight crews with another tool to keep our skies safe."

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80 responses to “The CDC Rightly Contradicts the WHO's Absurdly Cautious Mask Advice for Vaccinated People

  1. Wrooong, wrong, wrong, wrong!

    Reason LOVES masks! CDC loves masks!

    This article doesn’t exist.

    1. “Even the CDC says vaccinated people should continue to wear masks when it is legally required”

      If they don’t love masks, why would it be legally required?

      Screetch doesn’t know, can’t answer.

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  2. What about natural immunity which we know is stronger and longer lasting than the vaccines? Why is there never mention of that?

    The vaccination rate isn’t dropping because people are anti vaxx as much as it’s dropping because people previously infected don’t need to get the vaccine and don’t want to.

    1. How do you know natural immunity is stronger than the vaccine response?

      1. I suppose you can’t know with absolute certainty until we wait and see what happens. But it seems like a good working theory. There is certainly no reason to assume natural immunity isn’t as good as vaccination, at least.


          The upshot appears to be that if you get infected with COVID, the degree of your immune response is highly variable. Sometimes it is robust, sometimes it is weak. But with the vaccine, it is much more predictable.

          1. OK, that’s interesting. But what we really need is a good study on actual outcomes for people previously infected vs. vaccinated (without previous infection). As far as I know, the numbers of people who have had SARS2 twice is incredibly tiny.

            1. It is. Reinfection occurs almost exclusively in people who have a weak immune response and aren’t able to form IgG antibodies, which could only happen within a small fraction of the population (~3%), and it won’t even happen to all of them.

            2. Well the very large Israeli study is one such as is the Cleveland Clinic study. You can also find dozens of blood work studies where they measure robust T cell response for both kinds of immunity.

      2. Actually, whether you received the vaccine or the actual covid virus, your NATURAL immunity kicks in to combat and prevent infection. Vaccines are made from microbes that are dead or inactive so that they are unable to cause disease.
        So the point of this conversation is moot.


        “Last fall, there were reports that antibodies wane quickly after infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, and mainstream media interpreted that to mean that immunity was not long-lived,” said senior author Ali Ellebedy, PhD, an associate professor of pathology & immunology, of medicine and of molecular microbiology. “But that’s a misinterpretation of the data. It’s normal for antibody levels to go down after acute infection, but they don’t go down to zero; they plateau. Here, we found antibody-producing cells in people 11 months after first symptoms. These cells will live and produce antibodies for the rest of people’s lives. That’s strong evidence for long-lasting immunity.”

        “As expected, antibody levels in the blood of the COVID-19 participants dropped quickly in the first few months after infection and then mostly leveled off, with some antibodies detectable even 11 months after infection. Further, 15 of the 19 bone marrow samples from people who had had COVID-19 contained antibody-producing cells specifically targeting the virus that causes COVID-19. Such cells could still be found four months later in the five people who came back to provide a second bone-marrow sample. None of the 11 people who had never had COVID-19 had such antibody-producing cells in their bone marrow.

        “People with mild cases of COVID-19 clear the virus from their bodies two to three weeks after infection, so there would be no virus driving an active immune response seven or 11 months after infection,” Ellebedy said. “These cells are not dividing. They are quiescent, just sitting in the bone marrow and secreting antibodies. They have been doing that ever since the infection resolved, and they will continue doing that indefinitely.”


        “This long-term immune protection involves several components. Antibodies—proteins that circulate in the blood—recognize foreign substances like viruses and neutralize them. Different types of T cells help recognize and kill pathogens. B cells make new antibodies when the body needs them.

        All of these immune-system components have been found in people who recover from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. But the details of this immune response and how long it lasts after infection have been unclear. Scattered reports of reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 have raised concerns that the immune response to the virus might not be durable.”

        ” The researchers found durable immune responses in the majority of people studied. Antibodies against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which the virus uses to get inside cells, were found in 98% of participants one month after symptom onset. As seen in previous studies, the number of antibodies ranged widely between individuals. But, promisingly, their levels remained fairly stable over time, declining only modestly at 6 to 8 months after infection.

        Virus-specific B cells increased over time. People had more memory B cells six months after symptom onset than at one month afterwards. Although the number of these cells appeared to reach a plateau after a few months, levels didn’t decline over the period studied.

        Levels of T cells for the virus also remained high after infection. Six months after symptom onset, 92% of participants had CD4+ T cells that recognized the virus. These cells help coordinate the immune response. About half the participants had CD8+ T cells, which kill cells that are infected by the virus.

        As with antibodies, the numbers of different immune cell types varied substantially between individuals. Neither gender nor differences in disease severity could account for this variability. However, 95% of the people had at least 3 out of 5 immune-system components that could recognize SARS-CoV-2 up to 8 months after infection.”
        ” Several months ago, our studies showed that natural infection induced a strong response, and this study now shows that the responses last,” Weiskopf says. “We are hopeful that a similar pattern of responses lasting over time will also emerge for the vaccine-induced responses.”

        1. The vaccine only induces an immune response to the S spike protein coded in the mrna vaccine. Even the monoclonal antibody treatments now include a antibody cocktail that target both the S spike protein and an N protein on the viruses surface. That’s also why they’re better against the variants than the vaccine.

          Natural immunity, while admittedly variable, seems to produce antibodies to numerous proteins including the s and n proteins, as well as strong t and b cell responses as these studies show. It’s a much more diverse set of tools to combat future reinfection and the bone marrow cells are basically lifelong.

  3. Fuck the WHO; fuck the entire UN for that matter.

    1. Well said.

    2. Yup. Pete Townsend was no Jimmy Page.

    3. I strongly recommend that those people wear full face latex masks. That will guarantee that they don’t contract the virus.

  4. Only in blue states would anyone be stupid enough to wear a dirty face diaper.

    1. That is demonstrably untrue. There are stupid people everywhere.

      1. Agree see below:

    2. Last week I was with family and friends at a local restaurant located on a lake; just next to it is a small car ferry; and on this ferry, bright sunny day, wide ass open, is a couple on bicycles, each wearing a face mask.

      They rode off wearing them.

      At this point it is really just signaling, as if they were wearing t-shits emblazoned with shit Tony would say.

      1. What the hell are those people thinking? I saw a woman on a bike the other day with a mask on in 90 + heat with high humidity.

        And these people aren’t carefully following advice from the CDC or anything either. Even the CDC has consistently said not to wear masks while exercising.

      2. Long term mask use induced psychosis?

      3. Well, if they’re not less offs, they must be morons, right?

      4. Maybe they were just ugly as shit and masks hide this.

  5. I see no reason to not try to avoid all risk in life. It’s not as if there are negative consequences to doing so.

    1. So, no rewards, ever?

    2. The negative consequence is being a pain in the butt. We can’t indefinitely bend over backwards for neither people who don’t want to get the vaccine nor the very very small percentage of the population that can’t have it.

      I mean, we could I guess, but then we get back to the whole “pain in the butt” thing. I have a giant head, like massive, and there isn’t a mask that exists that doesn’t rub against the skin underneath my eyes. My eye skin has been chapped long enough!

  6. Fuck these people.

  7. Please tell me we can start building a wall around california. They are more of a threat than mexico right now.

  8. Is this the same CDC that a mere three months ago was recommending double masks for everybody? What changed since then? I’m getting whiplash from how fast this science keeps changing.

    1. Shave the valley?

      1. Now that’s a pubic hairstyle I’ve not seen yet.

    2. The universal availability of the vaccine and the evidence that it stops the spread (not merely alleviates symptoms) is the change. People who are vaccinated have nothing to fear from the virus. People who are unvaccinated aren’t going to get the virus from a vaccinated person. Therefore, applying prevention measures on folks who are vaccinated is unnecessary, even by the CDC’s way of thinking. I believe that the CDC would still recommend double masking for the unvaccinated.

  9. Mask advocates assume there is no downside to wearing a mask. Wrong wrong wrong.

  10. You do know that vaccination doesn’t prevent infection or transmission, right? it just reduces severity for the vaccinated.

    Masking makes sense until everyone who wants to be vaccinated is.

    Then those who don’t are welcome to fuck off and die

    1. Then why not masks for all after everyone is vaccinated?

      1. I’m sure you are aware that many fuckwits will choose not to be vaccinated.

        I am happy to let them suffer the consequences.

        Others want laws to help those too stupid to help themselves.

        1. To bad 999/1000 of the infected will not suffer any consequences. How every will they stop being so stupid without consequences? Maybe you can make a camp to educated the rubes.

          1. Do you even realize that the real data is easy to find and it demonstrates that you are a babbling fool?

            About 34 million US citizens have been infected with covid and 600,000 have died. That’s nearly 2%.

            About 2.4 million US citizens have been hospitalized with covid. That’s close to 7% . Many of those have permanent injuries.

            1. You’re talking about the case fatality rate. However, many more people than that have been infected without being ever tested. So, the INFECTION fatality rate is very low. Lower than 99.9% for most age groups under 80.

              1. 99.9% eh?

                Cite required.

              2. Dipshit

                Even if every US citizen has been infected, which testing has proved they haven’t been, at 2.4 million hospitalizations that’s close to 1%.

                Still waiting for your 99.9% cite. I won’t hold my breath.

        2. I am ignorant on the vaccination rate of “fuckwits.”

    2. You do know that 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust, right?

      If you disagree, feel free to post below, and we will each take your epidemiological advice with whichever sized grain of salt as we deem fit.


      1. I have provided irrefutable evidence to soundly refute that bullshit many times here and neither you nor anyone else has ever refuted it.

        I refute that which I deny, you are nothing but a humiliated liar who can’t refute what you deny.

        1. Get lost already.

        2. Cite missing.

          1. If you think my evidence refuting the bullshit holocaust has ever been refuted, you provide the cite fuckwit.

          2. Here’s a link to evidence I posted here just last month. It soundly refutes the bullshit holocaust story.

            Neither you nor anyone else has ever refuted it.


    3. Masks work, right? Then why was there a second wave last fall? And why has every state that eliminated its mask mandate done better since then? You sheeple have to stop believe everything the politicians tell you.

      1. Cite required.

        1. Texas dropped its mandate and cases fell.

          1. Along with the price of blueberries.

            Vaccinations and social distancing are more likely to be the reason for a decrease in cases.

    4. It absolutely prevents infection and transmission in most cases. Can you not read? There are very few breakthrough cases at all and the viral load in vaccinated people is lower so they aren’t as likely to transmit it to someone else.

      1. “ so they aren’t as likely to transmit it to someone else.”

        Vaccination reduces, it absolutely does not prevent infection and transmission.

  11. “We found antibody-producing cells in people 11 months after first symptoms. These cells will live and produce antibodies for the rest of people’s lives. That’s strong evidence for long-lasting immunity.”

    1. Mother Nature knows best.

  12. Be extra safe, never get out of your bed.
    Be extra safe, put crib rails on your bed.
    Be extra safe, die in your bed.
    People, life is a risk. But what is the point of life if you don’t live?

    1. Like if you die because you’re too stupid to be vaccinated?

      1. Get lost.

      2. What if you die from deteriorating health from being terrified of covid for 18 months?

  13. Virus-flouting, belligerently ignorant, lethally reckless, right-wing hayseeds are among my favorite culture war casualties.

    These bigoted, superstitious, downscale clingers can’t be replaced — by their betters — too soon.

    1. I look forward to the day when we hear that you choked to death on your own bile.

    2. As long as it’s up to the indvidual.

  14. The vaccine thing confuses me. I’m not anti-vaccine. I hope this pandemic ends soon. Thanks.

  15. another vaccine and another plot twist happening right now.
    so, if you want to buy good shirt come here to my place.

  16. Hope the pandemic will be over soon and peace for everyone in the World.

  17. We need to remember that the WHO is speaking to a global audience whereas the CDC addresses only the USA. Unlike our relatively well vaccinated country, much of the poorer world is still in the grips of a pandemic. I agree with both the WHO and the CDC.

    1. 250 US citizens are still dying every day from COVID.

      That’s worse than many less vaccinated countries and hardly a statistic to be proud of.

      1. If vaccinated people have to wear masks then it makes unvaccinated people less likely to get the shot.

  18. Why do we even have elections? Why not make scientists the absolute rulers?

  19. “If Nelson and her colleagues are vaccinated, their fear of infection is irrational”

    Irrational is a gross exaggeration. It would be irrational for a vaccinated person to wear a mask if there were conclusive evidence that wearing a mask increases the risk of infection. Since we know that masks reduce risk, a rational vaccinated person concerned about infection would wear one.

    The last I saw, they estimated the Pfizer was 88% effective against the delta variant. That is way better than no vaccine. But it is far below 100%, at which point insisting on a mask to protect against a risk that was already zero would be irrational.

    Of course, COVID is not the only infectious disease for which masks provide protection. Flu rates have plummeted due to masking a social distancing. Strong evidence that rational people will continue this last past the point at which COVID becomes a faint memory.

    As it stands, people who have been vaccinated against COVID 19 bit continue to wear masks are being cautiously rational.

Comments are closed.