What We're Reading: Mask Guidance in Schools; Alcohol Abuse Rising; Full Approval of COVID-19 Vaccines

The CDC issues updated mask guidance for teachers and students in school buildings; alcohol abuse is on the rise; Anthony Fauci, MD, addresses concerns on the lack of full approval for COVID-19 vaccines.

CDC Relaxes Mask Guidance for Vaccinated Students, Teachers

Last Friday, the CDC issued updated mask guidance, recommending that teachers and students who have been fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, do not need to wear masks inside school buildings. Reported by The Associated Press, the move comes amid a national vaccination campaign that is seeking to improve adherence among newly eligible adolescents 12 years and older. However, the CDC is not advising schools to implement vaccine mandates for teachers and vaccine-eligible children, with the agency also not providing guidance on how teachers can identify which students are vaccinated or how parents can know which teachers are immunized.

Issues Persist in Treating Rising Cases of Alcohol Abuse

In an article by The New York Times, the rising incidence of alcohol abuse and struggles in finding adequate treatment for the condition were spotlighted. With alcoholism affecting approximately 17 million Americans, self-help programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery have assisted many individuals in managing their addiction, although relapse rates were indicated to be significantly high. Moreover, medications known to blunt cravings and reduce the urge to drink, such as naltrexone, were cited to make it easier for people to quit, but they are rarely prescribed, as many doctors are not trained on how to manage or treat addiction.

Fauci Predicts Full Approval of COVID-19 Vaccines

Amid plateauing COVID-19 vaccination rates and a stark 91 million Americans who remain unvaccinated, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, Anthony Fauci, MD, addressed concerns on COVID-19 vaccines being perceived as experimental and not fully tested due to their emergency use authorization status. Reported by POLITICO, the lack of a full approval from the FDA was cited by Fauci as “only a technical issue,” with data on the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines shown to be very high worldwide .