SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — California health officials on Wednesday aligned with the CDC’s latest indoor mask guidance, recommending all people wear face coverings in public indoor space where there high or substantial levels of transmission.
But some health experts are questioning whether the best metric is being used to determine policy during this latest confusing chapter in the fight against COVID.READ MORE: Oakland Ties 2020 Homicide Total in First 9 Months of 2021
Contra Costa County has one of the highest case rates in the Bay Area, according to the latest CDC data.
Bay Area counties including Contra Costa have already recommended that all residents, including those who have been vaccinated, wear masks in public indoor spaces as cases rise again.
The latest CDC reversal regarding the wearing of masks is creating angst, anger and debate.
“It’s a touchy subject for a lot of people. It’s their right. absolutely. It’s their right, but it’s also my right. Why should I have to wear a mask inside and outside if I’ve got the vaccine and you don’t want to? You wear the mask,” said Hayward resident Lisa Brown-Castaneda.
“They say people like me who have not been vaccinated are causing this different variant to spread, and therefore there’s an increase. So I understand why,” said El Cerritto resident Faith Jackson.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new recommendation to mask indoors — vaccinated or not — in areas of substantial or high levels of transmission is based on case and positivity rates.READ MORE: Advocates for Immigrant Rights March From Santa Rosa to Healdsburg
But UCSF Professor of Medicine and infectious diseases specialist Dr. Monica Gandhi and other leading experts believe a different metric should be used as the main determining factor.
“Restrictions once we got vaccinations should actually be linked to hospitalization rates and not case rates,” said Dr. Gandhi.
Dr. Ori Tzvieli of Contra Costa Health Services is more aligned with the CDC’s use of case metrics instead of hospitalization rates.
“In the last few days, I’ve been very concerned about seeing our hospitals fill up. So either way, we’re now at a point where it’s quite concerning. And that’s why you’re seeing all of these masking recommendations and mandates coming back,” said Dr. Tzvieli.
“Low community transmission places don’t have to mask. That’s Vermont. Unfortunately, we have these higher rates and we need to keep those masks on, even after vaccination. I like that CDC did metrics, but I would’ve done hospitalizations,” said Gandhi.
Different takes and directions from the top all the way down the chain, contributing to the constant state of limbo for many.MORE NEWS: Pelosi Expects House to Pass Infrastructure Bill This Week
“I don’t know if I have to or should wear in the grocery store. Can I go in the grocery store without it? I don’t know,” said Brown-Castenada.