The CDC has recommended that some fully vaccinated Americans once again wear face masks in certain indoor settings. The decision, made amid a surge in Covid-19 cases, dramatically reverses the organization’s earlier guidance.
Two months ago, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cleared fully vaccinated Americans to return to indoor areas such as restaurants and work spaces without masks. On Tuesday, however, they backpedaled.
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With the more transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus infecting even the vaccinated, and with cases rising in areas with low inoculation rates, the CDC is has asked both vaccinated and unvaccinated people to mask up when dining indoors or entering other crowded spaces in areas with high transmission rates.
“In areas with substantial and high transmission, CDC recommends that fully vaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor settings to help prevent the spread of Delta and protect others,” CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky said.
The CDC’s guidance is not law, but it typically informs the policies of the federal government and local authorities.
The decision has been in the works for several days. White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN on Sunday that such guidance was “under active consideration” by the CDC at the time.
Daily new cases of Covid-19 have nearly quadrupled in the US since June, according to data from the CDC. With the majority of cases reported among the unvaccinated, public officials and media commentators have pinned the blame on those hesitant to get jabbed.
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“This is an issue predominantly among the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we’re out there, practically pleading with the unvaccinated people to go out and get vaccinated,” Fauci told CNN on Sunday, adding that the US is currently moving “in the wrong direction” with regard to stamping out Covid-19.
According to the CDC, some 69 percent of US adults have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. However, among those who haven’t yet got their shot, new polling shows that the vast majority have no intention of doing so. A return to indoor masking regardless of vaccination status will likely make selling these people on the shot an even more difficult proposition.
In addition to recommending indoor masking in certain areas, the CDC also recommended that all K-12 teachers and students wear masks regardless of vaccination status. Children are typically not at risk of hospitalization or death from Covid-19, and the CDC’s announcement represents another about-turn for the organisation, which earlier this month said that students and school employees who are fully vaccinated don’t need to wear masks.
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