The compulsory use of masks should not take into account only vaccination, the WHO said on Friday (14), in response to a question about the United States’ decision to release fully immunized people from wearing the equipment and respect the physical distance.
Those who are vaccinated “can go back to doing things they stopped doing because of the pandemic,” said Rochelle Walensky, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The measure reaches 108 million U.S. residents who have already been fully immunized, according to the CDC.
Although vaccines reduce serious illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths, they are not 100% effective, and whether or not the use of masks depends on the vaccination, but on the degree of circulation of the virus, the virus said. WHO Executive Director Michael Ryan.
“It is essential to take into account community transmission [quando a circulação do vírus em um território independe da chegada de pessoas de fora infectadas]”before relaxing anti-transmission measures,” he said.
Community transmission in the United States is at orange level (the second highest of five possible degrees), according to CDC monitoring, and reaches red in 11 states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan and Colorado.
Australia and New Zealand were cited as examples of how the decision on masks is decoupled from the stage of vaccination. Even without advanced vaccination campaigns, these countries have succeeded in suppressing transmission of the coronavirus, which has helped avoid restrictions.
“The circulation of the virus is the key problem, so people can do without the mask in these places,” said Maria van Kerkhove, WHO technical officer for Covid-19. “The pandemic is not over, there is a lot of uncertainty with the new variants and we must maintain basic care to save lives.”
According to her, the equipment is one of a group of measures that must be used together to prevent the spread of the disease.
Recent US data shows a 13.2% reduction in the number of new daily cases, but still at a high level: 52,772, based on the average of the previous seven days, according to the CDC.
From the peak in January this year, the drop is considerable – 81.6% – and the center has come under pressure from politicians, businessmen and doctors to relax measures in favor of the vaccinated, to encourage vaccination.
In other countries where full vaccination guarantees concessions, such as Germany, demand for injections has increased, but the risk of false certificates has also increased, according to German police.
For epidemiologist Bruce Aylward, senior consultant to WHO, “keeping transmission as low as possible is crucial even to ensure progress with the vaccine.”
Tedros Ghebreysus, chief executive of the organization, also called the announcement by rich countries that they are ready to vaccinate children and adolescents – the case of the United States, which will vaccinate children from 12 years old.
“In the meantime, poor countries have failed to protect even their health workers, and only 0.3% of vaccines administered so far have gone to these countries,” he said.
Ghebreysus has once again called on wealthier nations to postpone vaccination of low-risk groups and donate their drugs to Covax – which distributes them to countries most in need.