On Tuesday’s episode of “The Daily Show,” Trevor Noah took an extended look at the brand new CDC guidelines for outdoor mask use, and got worried that the whole thing is so convoluted and contradictory it’s going to end up discouraging people from getting vaccinated.
Earlier in the day, the CDC announced the new guidelines, which in some ways confirm things people have assumed to be the case for months: That vaccinated people are safe and outdoor activities are considerably safer than indoor activities. But the new guidelines also don’t seem to change much of anything at all.
Basically CDC now says that vaccinated people are safe to go full on maskless outdoors, except, for some reason, despite the effectiveness of the vaccine they should still wear masks at crowded outdoor events. Meanwhile, nothing has changed for indoor things; the CDC still recommends that fully vaccinated people continue to wear masks during all indoor events, just like unvaccinated people.
The CDC also released two charts that attempted — and we really want to emphasized “attempted” — to make the new guidelines clear. Here they are:
Now back to “The Daily Show,” where Trevor Noah took issue both with what he says is very confused messaging, and also with those charts which, well, you can see for yourself.
“This whole chart is trash,” Noah said while discussing the new guidelines during a segment amusingly called “Viral Rant.”
“I mean for starters, this guy” — he pointed to that block of red on the “indoor” chart above, featuring a cartoon of a man wearing a mask — “is in the least safe category, but he’s wearing a mask. If it’s not safe even with the mask on, then don’t have a guy there. Have an X. Or something that signifies danger, like a skull and crossbones, or a picture of R. Kelly.”
“The whole thing is too complicated,” Noah continued. “I have to sit here trying to interpret reds and yellows and greens, and outdoor/indoor, partial indoor, outdoor with the people who might be vaccinated, [or] partially vaccinated. This is unreadable.”
“You don’t see the Forest Service putting out flow charts like ‘no fires, unless the fires are in stone pits OR you come from a long line of firefighters OR you watch the weather and you know a rainstorm is coming in a few minutes.’ No,” Noah joked.
“Who designed this chart? The same people who design parking signs in LA?” He continued before transitioning to his main point. “And the really frustrating thing is that they’ve spent months, they’ve spent 5 months telling us to get vaccinated. ‘Oh, get vaccinated and this will all be over. Get vaccinated!’ And I was like, ‘great, I’ll get all the four vaccines if it means I’ll get my life back.”
But, he continued, “now they’re putting out a chart that says even if you get vaccinated, you can only do two more things without a mask on? Two? Guys, what the hell? The s— you’re saying to people is incoherent. You’re telling us these new vaccines are 95% effective and will stop coronavirus, but we still can’t do anything without a mask on anyway?”
“Which is it?” Noah asked. “Is this one of the most effective vaccines in the history of the world, or does it not work? It’s not clear messaging. Especially if you’re desperately trying to convince people to get the vaccine.”
Noah compared this to Uber telling customers they should get a Lyft instead, joking “I already know an Uber could get into an accident on the way over, but if the app keeps telling me that, I’m gonna stop ordering Ubers.”
Noah said he understands that the CDC “is just trying to cover all the bases, because maybe there’s a tiny chance you could get corona even if you’re vaccinated.” But he warned that “if that messaging ends up convincing people that there’s not much of a reason to get vaccinated at all, then we’re shooting ourselves in the foot.”
“Which is not something we should do,” Noah said to conclude the joke, “or as the CDC puts it, ‘Masked guy in indoor red zone.'”
Watch the whole clip from “They Daily Show” above.