Local doctors weigh in on CDC’s decision to lift mask requirements for fully-vaccinated

ATLANTA — The CDCs new mask guidance is sparking a lot of debate, even among doctors.

Is it too early for fully-vaccinated people to remove their masks, or is it time?

Channel 2′s Carol Sbarge talked to several doctors and got some very different perspectives.

Dr. Audrey Arona is the health director for Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale counties. Arona said doctors are seeing firsthand the effectiveness of the vaccines. She points out how there was no case surge after spring break or Easter.

“Life is better together, so this vaccine is really allowing us to get back to that still, which I’m looking forward to,” Arona said.

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The CDC director said recent studies show the vaccines are very effective in preventing people from getting the virus, but also from spreading it.

The helped lead the CDC to say that vaccinated people don’t need masks anymore outdoors and most places indoors.

“We’re hoping that the news from the CDC, opening, you know, with less restrictions on... those fully vaccinated, that it might encourage others to become vaccinated as well,” Arona said. “And that’s what we need at this point.”

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Arona said that in Gwinnett County, so far just 30% of people are vaccinated.

Dr. Melody McCloud, a metro Atlanta OBGYN, said she applauds the work the CDC has done on getting people vaccinated this year, but she worries it’s too soon to loosen mask-wearing restrictions, especially because unvaccinated people may also ditch the masks and be carriers.

“The main thing is, people might be an asymptomatic carrier and they don’t know that they necessarily could be putting other people at risk,” McCloud said. “The only way we’re going to get out of this is if we all pitch in to do our part.”

The CDC is stressing that if you are not vaccinated, you still need to social distance and wear a mask.

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