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CDC director says the agency was not pressured by politicians to ease up on face mask guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans

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Rochelle Walensky
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky REUTERS
  • CDC director says pressure from lawmakers did not play a role in the mask guideline change.

  • Earlier this week, Rochelle Walensky was met with criticism from lawmakers about the prior face mask policy.

  • However, in an interview with Fox News, Sunday Walensky confirmed that science was behind the shift.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that pressure from lawmakers did not play a role in the change in guidelines for vaccinated people in the country.

On Thursday, the CDC eased up on their face mask guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans saying that they "can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance," according to the agency's website.

The announcement came after CDC director Rochelle Walensky backed the agency's prior mask guidelines during a Senate committee earlier this week and was met with criticism from lawmakers, according to ABC News.

In an interview on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Walensky if the agency's decision was influenced by politicians, and Walensky stated that wasn't the case, citing science as the reason behind the shift.

"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 said on Fox News Sunday.

"And, you know, it evolved over this last week," Walensky continued. "The cases came down over the last two weeks and so I delivered it as soon as I can when we had that information available."

During the interview, Wallace asked Walensky about the concern of the potential uptick in COVID-19 cases, if people who are not completely vaccinated take off their masks as well.

"We're still vaccinating between 1.5 and 2 million people a day and so every day more and more people are getting vaccinated. The honor system is, to be honest with yourself," Walensky said. "If you are vaccinated, we are saying you are safe, you can take off your mask and you are not at risk of severe disease or hospitalization from COVID-19. If you are not vaccinated you are not safe. Please get vaccinated or continue to wear your mask."

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