As active cases decline, some states remove mask mandates, defying experts

Dr. Richard Besser, former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discusses mask mandates, a decline in active cases and inequities during the pandemic.
5:05 | 03/05/21

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Transcript for As active cases decline, some states remove mask mandates, defying experts
Joining us now to do a deeper dive on some of the hurdles our nation continues to face them elegance cove it. Is former acting director for the CDC in current president and CEO the Robert Wood foundation doctor Richard investor doctor thank you so much for joining us again. Danks Ramey on merit the mast debate has. Gotten a lot of attention this week with Texas and Mississippi ending mass mandates and then on the other and the governor of Alabama has extended their mass mandate. Particularly when it comes to a state as large as Texas. How bad can things get despite the fact that people are slowly getting vaccinated. Well you know it's it's been so encouraging to see the numbers going down her around the country at a numbers going down in states lately Texas. Put it all field fewer than 10% of the of the adults in Texas have been vaccinated. That means that there are a lot of people who were all the roll lot of people who were susceptible to listen to any infection. And you know if the F wearing a mask with simply a matter. Both personal decision end and personal. Acceptance of risk I'd say fine get rid of the mass mandates. But when a person decides not to Wear masks they're not just putting themselves at risk they're putting people around him it Wyss at risk they're putting people at risk to. Have to go to work each day to put food on the table and that's just not right if we hang in there together is a nation for a few more months. We're gonna see a lot of the requirements that are being grown people eased because we're going to be able to get vaccine to everyone who wants it. Sure doc according to the latest information from HHS. The seven day average of cases decreased 2% last week and has decreased a whopping 74%. Since our nation speak on January 11. I know you hesitate to make predictions about this wild virus but how what are you feeling right now about our nation's progress. Here I'm cautiously optimistic near the numbers are moving in the right direction no over the past. Past week Dave level law and that gives me a lot of pause and I think we have to be careful. We have to be careful because of the variants that have been emerging. There we know spread so much easier. And while the numbers are looking good that it didn't Dee Lee number of cases right now is still higher than what it was last summer when we started putting all these restrictions. We're still seeing more than 2000 people in America die each day from this. So what were moving in the right direction we have to stay together and and follow public health guidance in till we are truly done with this pandemic. Doctor today you often an op Ed for of the hill title Covert recovery requires addressing economic inequities. In your article you're encouraged congress to focus on five main things in our native our country the chance to truly be become a healthy nation again. Housing nutrition assistance paid leave unemployment insurance and health care access. You worked at the highest level of government inequities in this country have been a constant particularly for communities of color. What's your biggest concern about our government not having a true moment of reckoning as we slowly start pulling out of this. You know what I worry about irony is that it. We're gonna see this as as his short term situation. And once were out of this pandemic and it's it's really in the rearview mirror. We're gonna last the national will to make the changes in society so that everyone has the opportunity to lead healthy lives. Your we've seen how this is played on the pandemic we're people who. Have they have needed to go to work each day to put food on the table to pay the rent. That is indeed the Peter major health cost and it's not been spread evenly black Latino native Americans. Lower income communities have been hit the hardest part of we address these five areas then then each day in America even when were passed a pandemic. Will be a day when everyone has the opportunity to Libya leader healthiest Liasson we have to come together as a nation to view yet. And I will gets out here in this question. The CDC was supposed to release recommendations today united interactions between vaccinated people but that does not that it has now been delayed. What is known about what people can do once they've been vaccinated and what do you expect the CDC recommendations to shed. Yeah I mean this is this is challenging because there's not a lot of data we're we're new does that seem we're knew what went with science shows can can truly happen. But I hope and a minimum they say that it. A group of people wherever one has been fully vaccinated we can get together. In doors without masks and spend time together I hope they say that. Grandparents who were fully vaccinated. Can hugged her grandchildren. Means would be a wonderful thing hand it would encourage people to get vaccinated it's going to be a long time before everyone can get vaccinated. But those who were fully vaccinated should be allowed to do more things then they you'd been there were able to do before. Doctor Richard investor thank you so much very Thomas C down the road. Take care if you will.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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