Nursing groups raise concern over federal guidance on masking

Nursing groups raise concern over federal guidance on masking

Several Illinois nursing groups said this week they’re concerned about new federal guidelines on mask wearing for fully vaccinated individuals.

The National Nurses United, which includes members in Illinois, pleaded with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during a virtual press conference Wednesday to reverse its guidelines that allow fully vaccinated individuals to stop wearing a mask and practicing social distancing in most indoor and outdoor settings.

“The guidance the CDC issued on May 13 is disappointing, not in the best interest of public health and not based on science,” said union President Jean Ross.

Illinois and Chicago plan to follow the federal guidelines.

The American Nurses Association said the guidance may have been “premauture” given the current vaccination rate. About 38.4 percent of Illinoisans are fully vaccinated, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“We ask that Illinoisans remember to be good neighbors,” the association’s Illinois chapter said in a statement. “The responsible thing to do is to wear your mask when you don’t know who is vaccinated and who isn’t or can’t be vaccinated. So if you’re just going to the store or a public event, please continue to mask up.”

Paul Pater, a member of the Illinois Nurses Association’s board and president of its PAC, said it seems as though political pressure was put on the CDC to make the announcement, specifically as it relates to the number of large events and music festivals that have since announced plans to resume this summer.

“As we’ve seen recently, younger people are quickly becoming super-spreaders of this disease, and we must be fully vigilant to ensure a new mutation of this virus does not overwhelm the public,” Pater said.

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