Social media users have come out en masse against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new guidance regarding masks, vowing to continue covering their faces indefinitely.
On Thursday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced that fully vaccinated Americans can return to life without masks.
The directive was a full pivot from advice issued earlier in the month.
What are the details?
Many social media users responded to the announcement with concern, and in some cases, outright disdain.
Dr. Jason Johnson, MSNBC political contributor and radio host, wrote, "I will continue to wear a mask in closed buildings and restaurants thank you. [I]t's not an imposition on anyone else or doubting the CDC, it's just added caution."
Dr. Leana Wen, former head of Planned Parenthood and CNN analyst, added, "The CDC has gone from one extreme to another, from over-caution to throwing caution into the wind. By not requiring proof of vaccination, they are essentially eliminating mask mandates & physical distancing. This could DISINCENTIVIZE vaccination."
In response to a Grabien tweet that read, "Mika [Brzezinski] & Joe [Scarborough] both say they'll keep wearing masks on planes despite being vaccinated," the MSNBC host added, "The CDC says it as well. Probably a smart thing to do now, and a good idea to keep a mask on hand in the future if that person in the seat next to you starts the hacking and sneezing routine in flu season."
Prominent gun control activist David Hogg added, "I feel the need to continue wearing my mask outside even though I'm fully vaccinated because the inconvenience of having to wear a mask is more than worth it to have people not think I'm a conservative[.]"
Author John Pavlovitz wrote, "I haven't had a cold in 15 months. I'll be wearing a mask."
Another user wrote, "I've been supportive and defensive for the most part of the CDC all along, but this statement is reckless. You're empowering anti-maskers and anti-vaxers. You know, the ones keeping the World from resuming some normalcy and who are continuing to kill others and/or make them ill."
Another added, "At my doctors office there is a sign on the door that says 'You will wear a mask past this door regardless of the current advisories. Put in on or turn around.' Yes!"
One user even said that the move was counterintuitive to protecting children.
"So, are we just actively not protecting the kids anymore?" the user asked in response to the CDC's announcement. "Vaccines were approved for 12+ just days ago. Getting all that done takes time and what about the rest of them? It may not hit kids as hard, but it still f***ing sucks and can have complications."
"I ain't taking my mask off till we are done," one user proclaimed. "I care about others."
Another user called the science into question, and wrote, "I'll continue to wear my mask because still a lot of people not vaccinated. How can I really know who is vaccinated? How long does the Pfizer vaccine last in body?"
"With so many refusing to vaccinate, how can I feel safe indoors when I see someone without a mask? How to keep our kids safe in these settings? Relying on honor system for my family's health? This is a mistake," one user insisted.
Finally, one user added, "[CDC] said if ur vaccinated and still wear your mask, you're sexy."
During Thursday's White House press briefing, Walensky said that Americans who have waited two weeks after receiving their second COVID-19 vaccine can return to mostly normal, pre-pandemic behaviors in the vast majority of settings.
In her remarks, Walensky said, “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing. If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy."
The infectious diseases expert added, "Based on the continuing downward trajectory of cases, the scientific data on the performance of our vaccines, and our understanding of how the virus spreads, that moment has come for those who are fully vaccinated."
Unvaccinated Americans should continue masking and engaging in social distancing, Walensky advised.
“This is an exciting and powerful moment, it could only happen because of the work of so many who made sure we have the rapid administration of three safe and effective vaccines," she proclaimed.
The Associated Press reports that about 154 million Americans — more than 46% of the population — have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. More than 117 million Americans are fully vaccinated.