Former President Donald Trump reacted in a statement Tuesday night to the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that says both vaccinated and un-vaccinated people should wear masks inside again.
“We won’t go back. We won’t mask our children. (President) Joe Biden and his administration learned nothing from the last year,” Trump’s statement said. “Brave Americans learned how to safely and responsibly live and fight back. Don’t surrender to COVID. Don’t go back! Why do Democrats distrust the science? Don’t let this happen to our children or our country.”
Trump’s statement comes as the CDC issued new guidance during the day that both vaccinated and un-vaccinated people should wear masks inside of facilities with a “substantial or high transmission” possibility.
“This is not a decision the CDC has made lightly,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said during a media briefing on the latest guidance Tuesday afternoon. “It is not a piece of welcome news. (This decision) has weighed heavily upon me.”
Walensky said the reason for the change in guidance is due to the more transmissible delta variant of the virus, which she said poses the most danger to unvaccinated and immunocompromised individuals.
According to the agency, transmission of the new variant has increased the number of COVID cases nationwide by 300% from June 19-July 30, leading to more hospitalizations and deaths mostly among the unvaccinated population.
While she said the three vaccines, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna, provide high levels of protection against severe illness or death, vaccinated people can still spread the disease to others, and may even contract the illness, although not as severe.
“Masking right now is a temporary measure,” she said.
The agency said another reason for the increased measure of wearing masks again, comes from the slowing vaccination rate in the nation, which has plateaued since the vaccines became available at the beginning of the year.
According to the CDC, 163.3 million people in the country are fully vaccinated, or 49.2% of the total population, with another 26 million more with at least on dose received.
At its peak in March, some 3 million doses were being administered daily, but that number has dropped to about 450,000 each day now.
The guidance also recommends that children 12 and under wear masks while indoors, including schools because they are currently unable to be vaccinated.