By Nancy Clanton, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Troy Warren for CNT
Letter cites concerns over the emergence of delta and lambda variants
The country’s largest nurses union wants the public to put their masks back on — even if they’re vaccinated.
The National Nurses Union is calling on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to reinstate its recommendations that people wear a face mask when around people who are not part of their household.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is far from over,” the union wrote in a letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. “In the United States, the CDC reports a 16.0 percent increase in daily new cases over the previous week. More than 40 states have seen an increase in daily new cases over the previous two weeks, and more than 25 states have seen an increase in hospitalizations. Due to domestic and global travel, the United States cannot be viewed in isolation. Globally, incidence remains high with several regions around the world seeing significant increases in cases and emergence of new variants of concern.”
The union said its recommendations are “based on science and the precautionary principle and are made in order to protect nurses, other essential workers, patients, and the public from Covid-19.”
The letter cites concerns over the emergence of the delta and, more recently, lambda variants as reasons the public should remain masked.
“It should come as no surprise that cases are rising following the rapid reopening of many states and the removal of public health measures, including the CDC’s May 13 guidance update that told vaccinated individuals they no longer needed to wear masks, observe physical distancing, avoid crowds, or get tested or isolate after an exposure, within only a few exceptions,” the union’s executive director, Bonnie Castillo, wrote.
“Nurses and health care workers stand ready to care for the sickest patients and to be a crucial part of the pandemic response,” Castillo concluded. “But our members need safe workplaces in order to ensure the safety of their patients and communities. NNU strongly urges that the CDC strengthen and improve its guidance to protect nurses, our patients, and the public.”
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