Summary: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to recommend Tuesday that vaccinated people wear masks indoors where the coronavirus is again surging. Comments from two Duke University experts are available below for use in your coverage.
“The CDC is right to change its guidance. Sound pandemic management requires tailoring measures to the local situation on the ground,” says Dr. Gavin Yamey, a professor of the practice of global health and public policy at the Duke Global Health Institute.
“The U.S. is now experiencing a fourth wave of COVID-19, driven by the Delta variant, which is estimated to be twice as transmissible as the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. Communities with low rates of vaccination are seeing major surges in cases and, in these places, wearing masks in indoor public spaces can help to prevent spread of the virus.”
“The right public health response to control these surges is to use a range of science-based approaches — community-wide indoor mask mandates, social distancing rules, scaling up test and trace, and intensifying workplace and school mitigations (including improved ventilation) — until vaccination rates increase.”
“We’ve seen Los Angeles County, for example, recently reinstating an indoor mask mandate for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to help curb its rapid spread of the Delta variant. There are a huge number of vulnerable people, including children under 12 who can’t yet get vaccinated and those who are immunocompromised, and the new CDC guidance will help to protect them.”
Gavin Yamey, M.D.
Dr. Gavin Yamey is a professor of the practice of global health and public policy at the Duke Global Health Institute. He is also director of the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health at Duke, which addresses challenges in financing and delivering global health. Yamey co-wrote an op-ed published Monday in TIME about factors that will determine COVID-19 surge this fall.
For additional comment, contact Dr. Gavin Yamey at:
Lavanya Vasudevan, Ph.D.
“The Delta variant is responsible for high rates of death and hospitalizations, especially in unvaccinated individuals,” says Lavanya Vasudevan, an assistant professor in Duke’s
Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. “I hope people consider this risk seriously when making the decision to be vaccinated. The rampage of the Delta variant in countries such as India serves as an important reminder to keep our guard up. It also reinforces the need to step up vaccination access globally and prevent the emergence of future, more deadly variants.”
Lavanya Vasudevan is an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and the Global Health Institute at Duke. She is also a faculty affiliate at Duke’s Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research.
For additional comment, contact Lavanya Vasudevan at: