CDC director Rochelle Walensky: Too early for states to lift mask mandates

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The new director of the CDC warned Sunday that it’s “absolutely” too soon for states to begin lifting mask mandates.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that the country is still grappling with case numbers “more than two and a half fold times what we saw over the summer.”

“It’s encouraging to see these trends coming down but they’re coming down from an extraordinarily high place,” Walensky told NBC anchor Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.”

When asked about whether it was too soon for states to forgo mask requirements, Walensky replied, “Absolutely.”

“We need to all take responsibility to decrease that community spread, including mask-wearing so that we can get our kids and our society back,” she continued.

Walensky said that following public health measures is critical as the country faces an outbreak of the new UK variant believed to be 40 to 50 percent more contagious.

“That means we’re likely to have more cases and more deaths from this,” she said, adding that data has indicated there might be “increased morbidity and mortality.”

“It, all of it, is really — wraps up into we can’t let our guard down. We have to continue wearing masks. We have to continue with our current mitigation measures. And we have to continue getting vaccinated as soon as that vaccine is available to us,” she added.

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