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CDC Changes Masking Guidance

With the CDC announcing revised guidance on the new COVID-19 community levels system many people wonder where we stand in the pandemic right now.

Dylan Huberman spoke with a doctor at UPMC to get a closer look.

UPMC’s Doctor David Burwell believes this signals a positive step towards endemic status but was clear that we’re just not there yet.

“I think we’re a little too early for the complete sigh of relief.”

Doctor Burwell, the chief quality officer for UPMC’s West Central Region, does believe some optimism is warranted.

“Within all pandemics, there’s ebbs and flows, right? And it’s really, I mean, it’s really exciting to see the outflow, and you know, really the reduction in the number of cases in severe COVID, we’re super excited to see that.”

He says the CDC is rightly targeting severe covid metrics in this new system.

“The CDC is trying to make a recommendation based upon what the prevalence of severe COVID is in your community and you know, right now, I think that’s really where we need to be is looking at the prevalence of severe COVID.”

In case you’re skeptical of the recommendations as they continue to change, Doctor Burwell says that’s just how science improves.

“The scientific method is to continually revise based upon new information so that you can adequately protect your individuals. So, yes what the CDC is stating regarding masking, they are revising their information regarding severe
COVID that’s reflective of the challenges to evaluate case counts.”

These revisions have also led to certain health systems, such as Conemaugh, to lessen visitation restrictions, and UPMC may not be far behind.

“Yes, we will continue to revise and look at those policies, we know that visitation is extremely important.”

But that the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t mean that the work to beat the virus is over.

“In healthcare systems, our teams have been working very hard. We’ve been having significant challenges in workforce shortages and no…we have not raised the mission accomplished flag.”

Doctor Burwell added that he anticipates the guidelines to continue to evolve over the coming months.

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