Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky denied that political pressure played a role in the agency’s updated mask guidelines, in comments on Fox News Sunday.
Host Chris Wallace asked Walensky to confirm that pressure from lawmakers didn’t influence the new guidelines.
“I can confirm,” Walensky said. The CDC announced on Thursday that Americans vaccinated for coronavirus do not need to wear masks indoors except in specific situations such as on public transportation.
“I can tell you it certainly would have been easier if the science had evolved a week earlier and I didn’t have to go to Congress making those statements, but I’m delivering the science as the science is delivered to the medical journals,” Walensky added. “And, you know, it evolved over this last week, the cases came down over the last two weeks. And so that’s — I delivered it as soon as I can when we had that information available.”
Walensky noted two studies published on Thursday, the same day as the changed guidance, which influenced on the CDC’s policy. Over a dozen states have rescinded mask mandates in the wake of the announcement.
The new guidance came as almost 60 percent of Americans over the age of 18 have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. The U.S. recorded a seven-day average of 33,866 new daily coronavirus cases, the lowest since September 2020, according to the New York Times.