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U.S. cities drop mask, vaccine mandates following new CDC guidance

Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani discusses why many U.S. cities are dropping COVID-19 restrictions and how public health experts are responding.

Video Transcript

- COVID-19 mask mandates continue to be removed across the country. Yahoo Finance Senior Health Care Reporter Anjalee Khemlani is here with the latest. Anjalee?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Thanks, Brian. First of all, I'm disappointed in Julie, but going back to COVID restrictions, we know that-- we know that mask mandates have been falling across the country in states that had been keeping them, as well as larger cities and major metros. We are seeing that reduction, of course, as a result of the CDC issuing guidance that shifts where a lot of states and cities are at this point in the pandemic.

We know that we're seeing that reduction of cases, reduction of hospitalizations, and while there are still some lagging numbers of deaths daily, they are coming down from the peak of this Omicron surge. So that has resulted in a stronger outlook for relaxing a lot of the restrictions that we're seeing right now, and that's something that restaurants and other small businesses are really having to contend with throughout the pandemic. They've had to do all sorts of shifting, whether implications came down from the state, or local government, or from the federal government when it came to masking, vaccine requirements, showing vaccine proof, as well as other things that were longer term views. Some took on the responsibility of really clearing out ventilation and upgrading air quality, so that is something that could really help as these restrictions reduce.

- And as we move forward here, gosh, there's been a lot of debate about the CDC and the guidance that they have come out with over the course of the pandemic. Where do we stand now in terms of what we could hear next from them and kind of the-- I don't know. --credibility of the organization going forward?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Well, that's actually a really important question, because we know that, right now, a lot of health experts really are quite concerned with the message that this new guidance has given, whether it is just the idea that the pandemic is over, which a lot of experts have said is not, in fact, the message right now, including Gregg Gonsalves saying that complacency really is the key here and not to let that weigh in. And that's something that's really important, because, like he said, "We said that the last spring and last fall, too." And this is exactly the point is that this virus is not yet gone away.

We are going to be seeing these cycles reoccur of new variants of concern, but we do not know the extent of the severity of them. And that's where all experts are looking right now. So that's why, while there are some concerns about the message this is sending, we are concerned about what the impact is come the next variant, which is a more of a when, not if as long as this virus continues to circulate at the rate that it is globally. So going back to your point about the credibility, I mean, there really is a lot of question around that, and many are wondering sort of how this impacts the future of guidance coming down when we know that there already has been so much confusion around anything that has come out so far.

But it's just another wait and see. I feel like I've been saying that for two years, but it's just another wait and see period of time right now. Back to you.