Medical University of South Carolina affirms CDC mask position

.(Live 5)
Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 7:50 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - An article published by the Medical University of South Carolina says university doctors support new federal guidelines from the Center for Disease Control regarding mask usage.

Doctors with MUSC say scientific evidence backs up the CDC’s new position in favor of not requiring a mask for those fully vaccinated.

The article by Helen Adams says that new studies have shown vaccinated people aren’t likely to transmit the virus to other people. She says MUSC doctors have found that the risk of vaccinated people getting infected is very small.

MUSC COVID-19 Epidemiology Intelligence Project Director Dr. Michael Sweat says “It’s becoming clear that masks for those who are vaccinated make no difference. I believe that we would have soon seen that vaccinated people would realize this and come to realize that it was just performative. They would ask themselves, ‘Why am I inconveniencing myself with a behavior that doesn’t have any utility?’ And in addition, they might say, ‘Why should I do this to protect people who will not wear a mask or get vaccinated?’”

Adams does say that Sweat thinks some people may have trouble with the new CDC guidance, despite having the vaccine. The main hang-up is that some think using a mask is a sign they care about others.

“Not wearing a mask will make people who are vaccinated feel like others will think they’re selfish, and there will be a lingering sense of fear of infection,” Sweat said. “Same with institutions that have mandated masks. It partially signals that they’re responsible institutions, and it’ll be hard to change based on that.”

Adams says Sweat’s team will keep an eye on the coronavirus’ trajectory as restrictions ease because they are afraid of what will happen when the unvaccinated begin to take off their masks.

“What may happen as vaccinated people stop using masks is that the unvaccinated will do the same thing in droves, Sweat said. “And when unvaccinated people stop wearing masks, that will likely drive up the rates of infection among that group.”

The latest weekly update shows the number of reported infections in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties combined dropped a whopping 44% compared with the previous week, Adams said.

MUSC’s overarching message is everyone who can get vaccinated should go ahead and get the shots

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