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Vietnamese in the US won’t stop wearing masks despite CDC claim

By Thanh Tam   May 22, 2021 | 04:24 pm PT
Vietnamese in the US won’t stop wearing masks despite CDC claim
Commuters on a public transit in New York City, U.S. Photo by Shutterstock/Justin Lane.
Xuan Quynh has decided to continue wearing a mask even though U.S. health authorities have eased the requirement for fully vaccinated people like her.

The international student at Boston University in Newton City, the U.S., says: "Of course, everyone is happy they don't need to wear face masks any more. I'm also happy to see my friends' faces again after many months.

"However, me and my friends are quite confused with the new CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidance."

The CDC updated its guidance on May 13, saying fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks in many settings.

Quynh has already got two doses of the Moderna Covid 19 vaccine since, as a medical intern, she was in a priority group.

But she is anxious when it is hard to distinguish between those who had get vaccinated and those had not.

"I am worried because there is still a small percentage of people who can get infected, even though they have been vaccinated, by people who have not been jabbed. There are also some people who do not believe in vaccines and do not intend to get it," she said

"I think public places like restaurants and supermarkets should only allow people with vaccination certificates to take off their masks."

The CDC had been "a little hasty" in changing the mask guidelines since the U.S. still has not vaccinated its entire population.

Quynh added that children in the U.S. "are still not vaccinated" and she does not plan to stop wearing a mask any time soon.

"I still wear a mask when I go out and meet other people, unless they are people I know for sure have been vaccinated."

More than 160 million people, or some 48 percent of the population, have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with nearly 127 million getting both, according to the latest CDC statistics.

The agency has warned that while fully vaccinated people can still contract Covid it will be a relatively rare occurrence. As of May 10 only 1,359 people contracted the disease, including fatally, from among more than 115 million fully vaccinated people, according to data from 46 states.

Some experts have said the new guidance released by the CDC is based on growing scientific evidence about vaccine effectiveness.

Vaccines made by three U.S. companies, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, have been licensed and shown great efficacy in preventing the risk of severe illness and death.

Henry Walke, a member of the CDC, says the vaccines' effectiveness and steady decline in Covid cases has led to an overwhelming consensus that the CDC decision was "the right move at the right time."

However, many people, especially ethnic Vietnamese, have said they will not stop wearing masks in the near future.

Thu Trang, a student doing a master's degree in English teaching at Michigan State University in East Lansing, is one of them.

"After the change in face mask wearing guidelines, my family and I still actively maintain a safe distance and wear face masks when we are around strangers," she says.

She and her husband have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which is said to be 90 percent effective in combating symptoms of Covid. This makes Trang feel more secure than before, but she is still quite worried about variants of the coronavirus.

"Full vaccination increases the safety level for people, but we also need to be careful with new strains of Covid-19."

Despite causing quite a bit of controversy in the U.S., the CDC's new mask guideline is still considered a major turning point in America's 14-month battle with the global pandemic and sends a signal that the country can resume normal functioning.

It is significant for President Joe Biden's goal of getting the U.S. back to normal by July 4 by when he hopes 70 percent of adults would have had at least one shot.

About a 15-minute drive from Houston, Texas, Phuong Nguyen, an insurance worker in the city of Sugar Land, said as a person working in the service industry and interacting with various customers, he "did not have a choice."

"I still have to do my job even if the client is not feeling well," he said.

However, after two doses of a vaccine, he feels much more secure and comfortable when meeting customers, whether or not they are wearing a mask.

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