Speaking on CNN’s “Inside Politics” Sunday, Ranney said she agrees with the assessment of Kathleen Neuzil, a vaccine expert at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who told the Washington Post that humanity needs to get “comfortable” with COVID-19 because it is not going away any time soon.
“We are never going to go back to a pre-pandemic reality,” Ranney said.
“And I do agree that we do have to become comfortable with the fact that this virus is going to be sticking around,” she added.
During her interview on CNN, Ranney strongly advocated for mask-wearing, including outdoors among crowds of people and for school children.
“You want to know what is going to create a class of socially isolated children is having them out of school again,” Ranney said. “Put them back in school but put them back in school with mask mandates to keep them and their teachers safe.”
Whether Ranney’s prediction about Americans never returning to their pre-pandemic lives includes indefinite face mask wearing remains to be seen. But if Neuzil’s remarks were any indication, sentiment among medical experts may be shifting from worrying about each individual COVID-19 case to preventing serious illness and death.
“We really need to shift toward a goal of preventing serious disease and disability and medical consequences, and not worry about every virus detected in somebody’s nose,” she told the Post.
Such an approach seems to contradict what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is doing by reversing its face mask guidance.
Last week, the public health agency said fully vaccinated Americans in regions with high rates of COVID-19 transmission should mask up. The agency later released some data suggesting that fully vaccinated people carry high viral loads in their noses and throats, meaning they become carriers of COVID-19 and potentially infect others.
Dr. Anthony Fauci justified the updated guidance by explaining Sunday the new guidance is meant to protect unvaccinated people. But isn’t such an approach worrying about each individual case, rather than focusing energy on “preventing serious disease and disability and medical consequences” like Neuzil suggested?
After all, while the CDC’s data show that breakthrough cases of the Delta variant have increased, if anything, the data show the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing deaths — almost statistically perfect, in fact.