I think I get what is going on here, BUT
Right now, the virus is everywhere. We do not know how to calculate any individual’s risk of 1) a serious infection and death, even if they’ve been vaccinated; 2) long covid; or 3) whatever other long-term effects may await those who have been infected.
Three hundred to four hundred people a day are dying. The current variant is extremely transmissible.
I am a lowly chemical modeler, but the mathematics (same as chemical reactions!) tell me that getting transmission down is the only way to get deaths and other health damage down. The way to do that is for everyone to wear masks, no fancy calculations of how many days since you’ve tested positive or even if you’ve tested negative. Everyone wear masks for a month. See what that does. Of course, everyone should be vaccinated too.
Here’s an interview with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. There’s more in the thread.
It is clear that she understands my chemical-epidemiological mathematics, but she is explicitly weaving a number of other things into her comments. Some people have to go to work, sick or not. Others have to tend to elderly relatives. Some don’t have access to tests. The tests are imperfect.
One of the tenets of public health is to make the guidance something that most people can and will follow. Walensky says something like that. Having a pro-virus political party makes that difficult. Add to that the Plague Bros at the New York Times and Substack. So I get what she is doing, but I think it would be responsible also to provide a separate statement of what we need to get the plague under control, starting with masks all the time for everyone. And yes, that would prompt constant carping and arguing that we can’t afford as democracy circles the drain.