Dr. Megan Ranney is ‘worried’ for lower-vaccination states that ditch masks too soon


“I am worried about those states, particularly the ones that have lifted mask mandates for schools.”

Dr. Megan Ranney said Tuesday she remains concerned about the COVID-19 risk in states with low vaccination rates. 

CNN’s Jake Tapper asked the emergency room physician and director of the Brown Lifespan Center for Digital Health about the state of the pandemic and for her perspective on a new study, in which researchers suggested masks and social distancing remain important tools for preventing new cases, that vaccinations cannot do the job alone.

Ranney pointed out that some states in the South and West only have about 30 percent of residents vaccinated. 

“In those states, it is much riskier to be going back to normal because there’s a higher percentage of folks who are not fully vaccinated and are at risk of catching this virus, or potentially some of those new variants that we’re seeing spread across the world,” Ranney said. “We’re starting to see cases tick up in Britain among unvaccinated folks, and I’m worried that we could see the same here in states that have lower rates of vaccination.”

In those locations and elsewhere, Ranney suggested masking remains an important tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19. The doctor criticized the attitude circulating that every person is out for themselves — the idea of if you get sick, you had the choice to get the vaccine so it’s “your fault.”

“That’s where universal masking in inside locations in particular, not so much outside, but inside, really is important in stopping the spread of this virus among the vulnerable,” Ranney said. “And of course … there are some folks who even after they are fully vaccinated, may still need to mask. People who are immunosuppressed. Folks on chemo or with other immunosuppressive diseases, they need to stay masked and we need to create a community where that’s OK for them. But I am worried about those states, particularly the ones that have lifted mask mandates for schools. They’re putting those kids at risk.”

Watch her full appearance below: