Follow the science.
It has become a familiar phrase during the pandemic and when it comes to COVID-19 protocols, but some experts said science may be taking a backseat to politics and other interests in charting a course for California.
Mixing science with politics can produce a strange result, especially when the scientists themselves disagree on whether Californians should mask up or follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and ease the masking and social distancing requirements.
“We just want to give ourselves time to implement these new policies with integrity, while still protecting the public health,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said.
Ghaly said the four extra weeks for California will take to implement the new guidelines will mean more people vaccinated and more preparation time for businesses.
UCSF Dr. Monica Ghandi said those business concerns may have trumped science in Monday’s decision for California to keep the current mask mandate in place.
“CDC guidelines are very sound, based on data,” Ghandi said. “Vaccines block transmission. They prevent you from getting ill and you won’t make someone sick if you were around them. And for the unvaccinated, the idea is to keep the mask on.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state will follow CDC guidelines, but not until June 15 when he expects California to reopen.
NBC Bay Area political analyst Larry Gerston examines the CDC updating its mask guidance.
“If you believe this is a bunch of horse manure, then you’re going to believe what the governor is doing is political,” said Larry Gerston, NBC Bay Area political analyst. “On the other hand, if you buy the science and know what’s going on and accept it, you take what the governor is doing as being wise for the state.
The California Nurses Association said the CDC got it wrong and California got it right.
“We still have a lot of infected patients. Cases are still high. Patients are dying and nurses are dying as well,” CNA said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the state of New York has more COVID-19 cases than California and is adopting the CDC guidance on Wednesday.
The CDC stresses anyone vaccinated is protected. The agency has also hinted new guidelines are likely coming for schools, summer camps and travel.