Following months of criticism, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that vaccinated people could ditch masks in nearly all circumstances. While met with relief and calls like “it’s about damn time” from Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, some liberal figures fretted about the sudden shift.
“I feel like I’m going to have to rewire myself so that when I see someone out in the world who’s not wearing a mask, I don’t instantly think, ‘You are a threat,’” Maddow said. “Or you are selfish or you are a Covid denier and you definitely haven’t been vaccinated. I mean, we’re going to have to rewire the way that we look at each other.”
Maddow said Americans should give each other space to process the feelings about the shift in “norms” over the new mask guidance, predicting there would be a “visceral reaction.”
Earlier, Maddow interviewed CDC Director Rochelle Walensky about the new mask guidelines, asking her, “How sure are you? Because this is a really big change.” Walensky assured her the agency was sure and touted the “extraordinary amount of evidence” showing the efficacy of the vaccines.
MSNBC contributor Noah Rothman shared Maddow’s clip, calling it a “remarkable artifact of our times.”
“The ‘patience’ message is a good one, but I live just over the river where over half the adult population has been vaccinated for a long time,” he tweeted. “You’re just now coming around to the idea that someone without a mask may be responsible. And only because a federal agency said as much?”
The CDC had come under fire from even liberal outlets like CNN and the New York Times for its messaging and guidance on the virus, such as its misleading statistic that less than 10 percent of transmissions came outdoors; the true number was less than 1 percent.
Maddow’s remarks came after CBS anchor Gayle King remarked Thursday that she has felt “judged” in New York for not wearing a mask outdoors, despite being fully vaccinated. Research has shown, regardless of mask-wearing, that outdoor transmission of the virus is extremely rare.
Maddow’s fellow MSNBC host, Joy Reid, said last month she was too scared to ditch her masks and would wear two while jogging in the park to guard against “backdraft” from other joggers.