Health & Fitness

“I’m worried that we will go deaf as the states reopen,” says the former CDC director

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Richard Besser, who served as the deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under former President Barack Obama, said he feared people will discount Covid numbers if governors decide to reopen their states.

“In Texas, where they lifted the mask mandate, less than 10% of the people have been vaccinated and the levels are higher than last summer when they first put the mandates on,” Besser said. “I worry these numbers are going a little numb, and we don’t remember the fact that in America more than 2,000 people die from Covid every day.”

Texas and Mississippi governors announced Tuesday that they were lifting mask mandates and allowing companies to reopen at full capacity.

“Now is the time to open Texas to 100%,” said Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott.

Connecticut governor, Democrat Ned Lamont, announced Thursday that some of his state’s companies will be allowed to operate at full capacity again from March 19.

Besser told CNBC’s The News with Shepard Smith that states should follow the CDC’s lead and take into account the concerns of Director Rochelle Walensky, who said she was still “deeply concerned” about the virus.

“Our recent declines seem to be stalling – at over 70,000 cases a day,” Walensky said during a press conference at the White House on Monday. “With these new statistics, I am very concerned about reports that more and more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from Covid-19.”

Besser’s old agency is expected to release new guidelines on Friday for people who are fully vaccinated. He advised host Shepard Smith that people should meet their expectations.

“I don’t think they will give the go-ahead to wholesale that many people are hoping for. There will be another downward trend and more people will be vaccinated than we currently have in the country,” Besser said.

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Katherine Clark