Study cited by CDC to justify new mask guidance reportedly rejected by peer review

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cited a study from India that was previously rejected by peer reviews.

In its latest COVID-19 guidelines, the CDC reversed mask recommendations upon the spread and infectivity of the Delta variant. “Studies from India with vaccines not authorized for use in the United States have noted relatively high viral loads and larger cluster sizes associated with infections with Delta, regardless of vaccination status. These early data suggest that breakthrough Delta infections are transmissible,” the CDC said.

Upon the reversal, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky referred to recent studies and told NBC, “We’re seeing now that it’s actually possible if you’re a rare breakthrough infection that you can transmit further, which is the reason for the change.”

Questions regarding this citation arose when Twitter users pointed out the study was previously rejected by peer review, although its status is now listed as under review. Furthermore, the Indian study used a vaccine that is not authorized or distributed in the US. 

In recent months, the CDC has flip-flopped on its COVID-19 guidelines, leading to national scrutiny. In March, it suggested the fully vaccinated continue wearing masks, by May, it changed course and gave the fully vaccinated the choice to not wear a mask. The public health agency’s use of a discredited source increases ​​controversy and distrust in the validity of its recommendations. 



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Antoinette is a community college student in Sacramento, California. She is a Politics Editor at Fact Based America, a correspondent for Campus Reform, and a student journalist. She previously worked for Turning Point USA as a High School Coordinator.

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