Thaddeus Swanek Thaddeus Swanek
Senior Writer and Editor, Strategic Communications, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


May 27, 2021


This week’s Path Forward event featured CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in discussion with U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark.

The Path Forward, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation event series, helps business and community leaders find the answers they need to execute a responsible reopening strategy for a post-pandemic world.

What happened?
During the discussion, Walensky highlighted the tremendous progress made in vaccinating the U.S. population, busted some vaccine myths, and encouraged vaccinated individuals to feel confidence in returning to their everyday lives. She also talked about why her agency still suggests wearing masks on public transportation and why employers should prioritize vaccinating workers over testing them for COVID.

What the experts are saying:

“We know that no nation will fully return to strength, until all nations return to health.” – Suzanne Clark, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

“This weekend, if you’re not vaxxed, go get vaxxed! And maybe we should all take the challenge: that we’ll all find one other person and get them vaxxed. A Memorial Day Challenge!” – Suzanne Clark

“I’m not yet declaring victory, but I do have cautious optimism. Our progress here in the U.S. has really been extraordinary. Each week we’ve had fewer cases, fewer hospitalizations, and fewer deaths.” – CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky

“Data are showing our vaccinations are working. The number of persons getting vaccinated is growing. We have more than 50% of American adults—or 131 million people—fully vaccinated. About 62% [of adults] have received at least one dose, which is truly incredible progress.” – Dr. Rochelle Walensky

“There are no data to suggest that any of our vaccines lead to infertility. In fact, there is no biologically-plausible mechanism for which that should be the case.” – Dr. Rochelle Walensky

“We’ve made a huge amount of progress in vaccinating our racial and ethnic minority communities and rural communities just in the last several weeks.” – Dr. Rochelle Walensky

“The science is now clear: If you’re fully vaccinated you can start doing all the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic. That should be for vaccinated people who are not immuno-suppressed.” – Dr. Rochelle Walensky

“Public transportation is actually unique in several ways…Given those distinctions, the CDC’s recommendation at this time are still to require masking on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of transportation, and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations.” – Dr. Rochelle Walensky

“If you are vaccinated, you [employers] no longer need to engage in those testing strategies…So, if you’re an employer and you want to invest in making sure everybody in the group was vaccinated versus trying to scale up a testing protocol, I would work toward getting everyone vaccinated because we don’t really need a screening protocol if you have everyone vaccinated.” – Dr. Rochelle Walensky

“In the situation you’re describing [a workplace with vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals], your vaccinated employees would be protected, your unvaccinated employees would need to take precautions—such as masking and distancing—until they’re vaccinated.” – Dr. Rochelle Walensky

What you can do:
Please consider joining the Rally for Recovery Commitment, a U.S. Chamber-led program encouraging every company and organization to take three basic, but important, steps to get the country back to health and American workers back to work.

And if you’re looking to get vaccinated, visit to find a vaccination site near you!

Up next:
Please join future Path Forward events to learn how to better protect you workers, customers, coworkers, and friends from the spread of coronavirus.

Additional Resources:

About the authors

Thaddeus Swanek

Thaddeus Swanek

Thaddeus is a senior writer and editor with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's strategic communications team.

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