CDC to recommend vaccinated people in certain areas resume wearing masks
(CNN) — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to update its guidelines on Tuesday to urge vaccinated people in certain areas of the country to resume wearing masks because of Covid-19.
People in areas with high or substantial Covid-19 transmission should resume wearing masks, the CDC is expected to say, according to sources familiar with the announcement. Nearly two-thirds of US counties have high or substantial transmission of Covid-19, according to CDC data; 46% of counties have high transmission and 17% have substantial transmission.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is expected to announce the decision at a 3 p.m. ET briefing on Tuesday.
CNN earlier reported that top officials met on Sunday night to go over the new data and evidence regarding the transmissibility of the variant and breakthrough cases, according to a person familiar with the meeting.
Two months ago, when the CDC updated mask guidance saying most who are fully vaccinated could go without masks indoors, the guidance moved so quickly that administration officials were informed less than a day before. This time, the process is moving in a more methodical way as they decide how to proceed.
White House officials have repeatedly said it would be up to the CDC whether to change official guidance and that they would follow the lead of health and medical experts. The renewed administration discussions about revisiting mask recommendations revolve around what messages on masking the White House should offer, and what guidance the CDC should issue, sources familiar with the matter have told CNN.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the President’s chief Covid-19 medical adviser and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday that revising mask guidance for vaccinated Americans was under “active consideration” and that he was part of the discussion. Fauci also said the US was “going in the wrong direction” as the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise, particularly among unvaccinated Americans.
President Joe Biden said last week that two dozen members of his Covid response team were examining the surge in cases and hospitalizations among the unvaccinated and determining whether new mask recommendations were necessary.
Officials in several places, including Los Angeles, have been forced to return to earlier requirements on masks because of surging Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations among Americans who have refused to get vaccinated.
The White House this week announced it was maintaining existing coronavirus travel restrictions amid surging cases triggered by the Delta variant.
The Biden administration recently extended non-essential travel restrictions for the US northern and southern borders until August 21. The US has been limiting non-essential travel along both borders since the start of the pandemic and extending those restrictions on a monthly basis.
This story has been updated with additional background information.
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How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Wear a mask.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
- If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
- Get a flu shot.
- Get vaccinated.
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