National Nurses United today criticized the latest rollback of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Covid-19 safety guidelines as a serious risk of prolonging the spread of the pandemic. NNU asks the CDC to rescind the new guidelines.
“Unfortunately, the CDC is once again responding to political pressure from those desperate to remove all safety protocols during this deadly pandemic that is still causing unacceptable numbers of infections, hospitalizations and deaths every day,” said NNU President Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, RN. .
“The new color-coding scheme will create confusion and mistrust in the public as to what is safe and what is not,” she said. “The danger to our most vulnerable populations, including immunocompromised people and young children, is particularly concerning.”
In its guidelines, the CDC adopts new measures on when it is “safe” to lift universal indoor masking protections. But the population figure required to reach the “high” risk level on which the CDC is basing the proposal is “relatively unnecessary,” Triunfo-Cortez said.
“According to the new metric, up to 200 new cases per 100,000 could still be considered ‘low’ as long as Covid admissions and hospital capacity remain below a new threshold. The new ‘low’ could now be up to 20 times higher than the previous standard, which is certainly not justified with the continued number of hospitalizations still occurring and ever-increasing reports of new variants such as the BA-2 variant are now spreading in many countries, including the United States,” Triunfo-Cortez said.
The “medium” level of transmission under the revised guidelines is also relatively unnecessary, she continued. “Advising people to speak to their health care provider about whether they should wear a mask places a burden on individuals, but also ignores health care inequities and the fact that millions of Americans don’t have no regular doctor. Instead of recommending masking, the CDC creates additional and unnecessary risk and burden for vulnerable people. »
Focusing largely on hospital capacity, the CDC is also making masking “reliant on hospital capacity rather than individual and community protection,” Triunfo-Cortez added. “If you wait until the hospital’s capacity is stretched, it will be too late and you are courting disaster.”
The widespread rollback of current protocols, she warned, has already led far too many people to slack off their guard, as evidenced by the drop in the number of people vaccinated and receiving boosters, as well as renewed concerns about adequate vaccination. for young children, and the ever-evolving scientific understanding of the lingering adverse health effects of Long Covid,” Triunfo-Cortez said.
“Everyone is eager to end this long ordeal of the pandemic, but the relaxation of safety protocols will only continue to cause unnecessary and unjustified loss of life, and new stresses for our frontline caregivers already overwhelmed. As we have said from the start of this pandemic, government policies must be based on science and the precautionary principle. We don’t need new measures, we need dedicated public health leadership,” Triunfo-Cortez concluded.
National Nurses United is the largest and fastest growing union and professional association for registered nurses in the United States, with more than 175,000 members nationwide.