If one actually takes the time to consider the preponderance of evidence regarding universal masking, it becomes extremely difficult to conclude that it has had, or was ever expected to have, a significant effect on the course of the pandemic. The evidence certainly doesn’t come even close to matching the quasi-religious fervor exhibited by the popular media, mask-mandating helicopter politicians, or your judgy virtue-signaling neighbor.
The CDC seems more easily led by op-eds in political newspapers than actual scientific papers on the topic, of which there are many thousands now. The agency wants digestible, clear instructions on what they should be doing. This piece in the Washington Post provided exactly that. Thus did the CDC reverse itself yet again.