As CDC mask mandate is lifted and Chicago follows suit, National Nurses United protests move


CHICAGO (WLS) – Chicago will follow Illinois and new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lift the face mask mandate for fully vaccinated residents, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner said on Tuesday on Tuesday. Dr Allison Arwady. The hope is that this will encourage more people to get vaccinated.

Arwady said masks will still be mandatory in all buildings in the city of Chicago. Masks will also always be needed in all health care facilities, schools, prisons and on public transport.

Arwady said the city strongly advises wearing face masks in indoor environments in places that are unable to verify immunization status until the city reaches Phase 5 of the reopening.

WATCH | Chicago Announces Lifting of Mask Mandate for Fully Immunized Residents

National Nurses United warns of easing restrictions. The union will hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss what it claims is flawed science behind the CDC’s new guidelines on wearing masks.

“Science shows that this is exactly the wrong time to relax, our multi-pronged approach to infection control that studies show actually works to control the virus,” said Jean Ross, president of National Nurses United. “As a nation, we have very high numbers of infections, only 37% of people are vaccinated, worrying new variants are multiplying every week, and there are still so many more unknowns.”

They said the studies cited by the CDC are incomplete and believe people should always keep their masks on, vaccinated or not, to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Nurses said the science guiding the CDC ignores the fact that COVID-19 can still be transmitted by asymptomatic people, which keeps the virus in circulation, allowing it to mutate. Masks, social distancing and hand washing * as well as vaccinations, they insist, remain the best public health policy.

The Illinois Nurses Association agrees with the national group, saying the CDC has bowed to public pressure from a society exhausted by the pandemic and that the availability of vaccines to vulnerable populations, primarily blacks and browns in the working class, is the challenge, not to overcome the reluctance to be trapped.

And there are important questions about vaccines that remain unresolved. We don’t know how long the protection will last. We don’t know how effective vaccines are at preventing asymptomatic and mild infections, which are important to prevent because they can have long-term health effects or long-term COVID and can transmit the virus. It is also unclear to what extent the vaccines will protect against the variants of concern that are more transmissible more deadly, and which are already or may become resistant to vaccines.

The new guidelines have confused many, including business owners who are unable or unwilling to verify the immunization status of customers.

This means diners inside Chicago can now order without masking, once they’re two weeks away from their last shot.

“Really at this point, as you know, law enforcement is a challenge,” Arwady said.

RELATED | New CDC guidelines fail to grant clearance for widespread mask removal: Walensky

The city’s new mask guidelines follow a flood of complaints from companies struggling to determine who is really vaccinated and just saying they are.

“We do our best to take the punches. In the meantime, we always try to provide as safe an environment as possible. But we are not going to argue with the guests who say they are vaccinated,” he said. said Scott Weiner, with The Fifty / 50 Restaurant Group.

For companies checking whether all employees and customers are vaccinated, there is an incentive: Capacity and social distancing restrictions would be lifted.

WATCH | 1st workplace vaccination distributed in downtown Chicago

But for companies that can’t or won’t verify the immunization status of customers, the city recommends a more cautious approach to masks.

“We continue to strongly advise, but not demand, masking policies for all indoor environments in Chicago,” said Dr. Arwady.

The announcement comes after Gov. JB Pritzker announced Monday that Illinois would follow new CDC guidelines on face masks, removing the mandate for fully vaccinated people.

RELATED | Target no longer requiring masks for fully immunized clients and workers | List of store policies

Two of the CDC’s exceptions to the new mask guidelines are that people should always wear them in hospitals and nursing homes.

The nurses’ union has said it wants the CDC to revise its guidelines.

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