Sen. Tillis co-introduces bill to audit CDC mask guidance decision making

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWAY) — U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) co-introduced the Restore Public Health Institution Trust Act, legislation that would require the Government Accountability Office to review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision making and messaging surrounding its reversal on mask guidance for fully vaccinated Americans. 

The legislation follows the CDC’s Tuesday announcement of new guidance to require indoor masking for all vaccinated individuals in areas reporting over 50 new cases per 100k individuals over the previous seven day period.

Tillis’ office says the CDC made the recommendation without providing a clear, verifiable justification for why the science on the Delta variant in July 2021 is supposedly different from the data in May 2021.

“I have been telling North Carolinians since last year that vaccines are the most effective tool we have to return to life as normal and the scientific data has shown that to be true,” said Senator Tillis. “However the CDC’s recent mask update sends a confusing message to vaccinated Americans and may even deter other Americans from getting their shots. The American people should have full confidence that there is transparency and accountability in the decision making process.”

The Restore Public Health Institution Trust Act would require the GAO to review the below items and make recommendations on ways the CDC should improve their approach:

  • The data being used to make recommendations;
  • The impact that inconsistent messaging has had on Americans’ trust in the institution and willingness to follow the guidance, including as it relates to vaccine uptake;
  • The degree to which outside entities, like teachers unions, were in a position to impact recommendations.

UPDATE (8:45 p.m.): Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) released the following statement on new data related to the spread of COVID-19 released today by the CDC:

“I’m deeply concerned it took the CDC three days to publicly release formal data justifying its reasoning behind the updated COVID-19 guidance. 

“This data should have been released at the same time the updated guidance was announced, so Americans could review it for themselves and understand CDC’s reasoning. Without proper context, the CDC’s sudden announcement Tuesday sparked an air of panic. When asked repeatedly for more information, the agency either would not or could not provide the underlying data, even as media leaks sowed more confusion. The CDC has got to do better.

“On Tuesday, they issued guidance affecting almost 74% percent of counties in this country. Today, CDC posted the data from one case study. We need more information.

“While the study provides new and concerning information on breakthrough infections, one of the biggest takeaways is that vaccines are working as they were designed to: in breakthrough cases, vaccines continue to largely prevent severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths. Unfortunately, that message was lost amid the CDC’s botched rollout.

“The CDC has a responsibility to provide the American people with a clear, complete, and accurate picture of what we’re up against. It can’t wave away questions by saying, ‘Just trust us.’ CDC needs to trust the American people and provide them with clear information and available evidence so they can keep themselves and their families safe.” 

On Tuesday, Senator Burr released a statement reiterating his call for all eligible Americans to get vaccinated to end the pandemic.

Categories: NC, News, US

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