• Tue. Sep 21st, 2021

New CDC mask recommendations protect essential workers of color

By Natasha Mundkur

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the world battles against the highly transmissible delta variant of the COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended on July 28 that vaccinated Americans wear masks indoors in certain circumstances, reversing their indoor mask policy.

The agency additionally advised vaccinated people living in high-transmission environments to wear masks indoors, for vaccinated people with vulnerable household members to wear masks indoors and universal masking for all teachers.

The following is a statement from Pilar Whitaker, counsel with the Economic Justice Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

“The CDC’s initial reversal of its indoor mask requirement unnecessarily puts thousands of essential workers at risk, especially if they worked in crowded or public indoor places. I’m glad the CDC has done the right thing by calling for indoor masks.

“The risks of contracting COVID-19 as an essential worker are still a very real and present danger. The new recommendations will help protect workers, as well as Black and Brown people who are still more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection than other groups.”

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sent a letter to CDC in June urging immediate reinstatement of its guidance to require face coverings in collective settings, such as restaurants, retail shops, grocery stores and public transit to ensure racial health disparities are not worsened.