Masks assured ‘to protect’ more than vaccine: CDC chief

Masks assured ‘to protect’ more than vaccine: CDC chief

WASHINGTON – US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield said Wednesday that wearing masks may protect individuals against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) more than a vaccine.

Speaking at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Redfield said face masks are “the most important, powerful public health tool” and the US could keep it under control if all individuals wore face coverings for six to 12 weeks.

“I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine because the immunogenicity maybe 70 percent and if I don’t get an immune response, the vaccine’s not going to protect me, this face mask will,” said Redfield. “We have clear scientific evidence they work.”

Masks are mandatory in several states and experts believe wearing one is vital for slowing the spread of the disease.

Redfield said a vaccine might be available in November or December but not widely accessible until “the second or third quarter” of 2021.

“If you’re asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public, so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we’re probably looking at the late second quarter, third quarter 2021,” he said

Even if a vaccine for Covid-19 was released, it would take “six to nine months” for enough people to get it to create immunity, Redfield said.

According to a Xinhua report, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense released two documents Wednesday outlining the detailed strategy of the US government to deliver Covid-19 vaccine doses to the American people.

The documents provide a strategic distribution overview along with an interim playbook for state, tribal, territorial, and local public health programs and their partners on how to plan and operationalize a vaccination response to Covid-19, said the HHS.

As of Wednesday, more than 6.6 million people have been infected with the virus and more than 196,000 in the US have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. (Anadolu with reports from Xinhua)

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