‘Trust-based guidance’: Updated CDC mask guidelines gets mixed reception from Central Florida health officials, residents

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Central Florida health officials said they believe the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated mask guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is the right move.

READ: These Orange County communities have the highest, lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates

Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino said he fully agrees with the CDC’s recommendation that fully-vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors or outdoors to protect against the virus.

READ: Coronavirus: CDC eases mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated Americans

He said you have to give people a reason to get the shot, and the freedom to not wear a mask is a pretty good one.

Central Florida emergency medicine physician Dr. Rajiv Bahl said cases are declining, and vaccines are working against the variants, and the data is clear.

“I’ve yet to see somebody come in with COVID-19 symptoms after receiving the vaccine,” he said.

Some across Central Florida said the new guidance makes sense, and others said they disagree completely.

READ: Temporary medical licenses: What are the red flags and why do these doctors keep getting hired?

Internal medicine specialist Dr. Aftab Khan said it’s going to be easier for individuals to lie about their vaccination status.

“I would say it is a trust-based guidance,” Khan said. “We need to know that people who are unvaccinated, they are not telling the lie.”

But Khan said this is a step in the right direction, and he’s hoping the new guidance pushes more people to get vaccinated.

READ: Children 12 to 15 can now get the COVID-19 vaccine in Seminole County

“They were saying that there’s nothing for us … even if you are vaccinated, we cannot enjoy our life indoors,” he said. “So now that will encourage and incentivize those people.”

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.