Nurses' union opposes CDC on new mask guidance

COVID-19 hospital nurse
Posted at 12:24 AM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 03:24:53-04

(KGTV) -The CDC's latest guidance on masking is facing criticism for the nation's largest nurses' union.

National Nurses United is lobbying the agency to walk back its recommendations last week that said fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks in most settings.

Deborah Burger, an NNU President, says the union and its nurses were very disappointed with the CDC's new stance.

She points to the different variants of the virus and the country's vaccination rate as causes for concern.

"There's only 30 percent of our population that's vaccinated fully," Burger said. "We're concerned that it could cause problems and lead to a fourth surge."

California's mask mandates are still in place. The Governor's Office has said its weighing whether and when to adopt the latest federal guidelines around masking.

California reports that nearly 49 percent of the state is fully vaccinated. On top of that, a little more than 15 percent is partially vaccinated.

"With other diseases, they say around 70 to 80 percent of the population being vaccinated would be adequate, but with some of these variants being transmissible, 70 to 80 percent may not be enough," Burger said.

Burger says another concern is that there is no way to tell who is not vaccinated and who should still wear a mask.

"We're also concerned with the mandate that's voluntary," Burger said. "They're going to say, 'oh yeah, I'm vaccinated, and I'm not going to wear a mask,' and you can't tell who's vaccinated and who isn't."