Politics 'Saturday Night Live' targets new CDC mask guidelines
States' COVID strategies are taking a high stakes gamble
While widespread vaccination use is the lynchpin to ending the COVID pandemic, relying on a single intervention is a public health gamble. True, current COVID vaccines prevent severe disease, death and even initial infection with outstanding effectiveness - generally over 90 percent. And authorized vaccines appear to be effective against currently known variants. However, vaccine demand is weakening and new viral variants may well continue to emerge.
"Saturday Night Live" cast member Kate McKinnon reprised her role as Anthony Fauci this weekend, portraying the infectious diseases expert presenting scenarios demonstrating the "correct mask behavior" after updatedon masks was released last week.
During the cold show's open, McKinnon's Fauci holds a mock press conference remarking on the new guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this past Thursday that said fully vaccinated people can forgo coronavirus restrictions two weeks after receiving their last required vaccine dose.
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As a lengthy, bitter fight over mask requirements for students neared its conclusion, the chairperson of a Florida school board announced that she would agree to lift a mandate that had been in place since September even though she preferred leaving it in place until the end of the academic year. Parents hurled insults in response. “Communist! Democrat!,” opponents of making children wear masks in school shouted as board chair Wei Ueberschaer and the district superintendent explained at a May 3 meeting that they still considered masks advisable.
"But a lot of people had questions, such as, 'What does that mean? What the hell are you talking about? Is this a trap?'" McKinnon's Fauci said. "So, to clear things up, I found a few doctors at the CDC who minored in theater. And I asked them to reenact various scenarios in order to demonstrate correct mask behavior."
"And remember, they only had 24 hours to put this little show together. So, please welcome the CDC players and their first scene, man walks to a bar," she adds.
Cast members Aidy Bryant and Beck Bennett then appear for the first scenario.
"Welcome to a bar," Bryant tells Bennett's character, who responds, "Thank you, do I still have to wear a mask indoors?"
"You actually do not," Bryant says.
"Great," Bennett says as he removes his mask.
CDC says fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks indoors and outdoors
"We have all longed for this moment ," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky."We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a media briefing Thursday afternoon.
"Well, as long as you're vaccinated?" Bryant then asks.
"No, I'm not," Bennett says.
"Oh then that's bad," Bryant said, to which Bennett responds: "Well, I'm entering a bar at 11 a.m. Did you really think I was vaxxed? Cause that's on you."
"You're right, I deserve COVID," Bryant says.
The camera then cuts back to McKinnon's Fauci at her podium, who reacts to the sketch.
"Okay, I don't know if that's the right takeaway. The real point is, we have to trust each other, so please be honest and respectful," she says.
More scenarios are then presented, including one involving a pair of former President Trump supporters who learn they don't have to wear masks anymore before arriving armed at a demonstration at the Capitol.
In another, cast member Chris Redd also pretends to arrive at a school to pick up a student and asks Cecily Strong's character if he needs to put on a mask.
"No," Strong's character responds, "fully vaccinated parents do not need a mask."
"But do I need to be a parent?" Redd responds to laughs from the audience.
Toward the end of the sketch, McKinnon's Fauci stops the mock press conference when the cast members break into a dance at the end of another scenario, right after Bennett's character says, "Now, let's talk about Israel."
"Okay, okay," McKinnon's Fauci hastily says with thumbs up. "That seems like a good place to end. So, in summary, please, everyone get the vaccine and enjoy life with no masks."
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