WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Iowa Governor Says Updated CDC Guidance 'Counterproductive to Our Vaccination Efforts'

Jul 28, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds has released a statement calling the updated COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "not grounded in reality or common sense."

The CDC issued updated guidance on Tuesday recommending people in counties with substantial to high community transmission of COVID-19 wear masks indoors, even if they are fully vaccinated.

According to CDC data, 47 Iowa counties have substantial or high levels of community spread.

CDC officials said they made the decision as the highly-transmittable delta variant now dominates the U.S., predominantly affecting those who are unvaccinated.

Federal health officials are also recommending universal masking for all students, teachers, staff and visitors in schools regardless of community transmission levels or vaccination status.

In a statement, Reynolds called the updated guidance "counterproductive to our vaccination efforts" and said she’s concerned the new guidance could fuel mask mandates in schools across the country.

"I’m concerned that this guidance will be used as a vehicle to mandate masks in states and schools across the country, something I do not support," she said.

Iowa enacted a new law in May making it illegal for schools to require masks.

Reynolds defended the law in her statement.

“I am proud that we recently put new laws in place that will protect Iowans against unnecessary government mandates in our schools and local governments," she said. "As I have throughout this pandemic, I trust Iowans to do the right thing.”

The state’s vaccination numbers have plateaued in recent weeks.

According to the CDC, 58 percent of Iowans 12 and older are fully vaccinated with rates widely varying county-to-county.