The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its mask guidance Tuesday to include … everyone.
In an afternoon press conference, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced that the government agency has changed its guidance on personal protection against COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and that both unvaccinated and vaccinated Americans may need to wear masks again.
Citing new information about the variant’s ability to spread among vaccinated people, the CDC recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors at schools nationwide, regardless of vaccination status and that even vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in states and localities experiencing high transmission of the virus.
She also announced that recent samples show no difference in viral levels between the vaccinated and unvaccinated.
“But with the delta variant, the level of virus in infected vaccinated people is “indistinguishable” from the level of virus in the noses and throats of unvaccinated people”, Walensky said. And that vaccinated people “have the potential to spread that virus to others.”
Summary of Updates to CDC’s COVID Guidance:
- Updated information for fully vaccinated people given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant currently circulating in the United States.
- Added a recommendation for fully vaccinated people to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.
- Added information that fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated.
- Added a recommendation for fully vaccinated people who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to be tested 3-5 days after exposure, and to wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
- CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status
The change may motivate pro-lockdown governors, local officials, and school administrators to return to 2020 measures where k-12 and college students learned remotely and many public businesses were shuttered or only allowed to operate at drastically reduced levels.
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