CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus USA: why is the CDC recommending that vaccinated people wear masks indoors?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to announce that even people who have received both vaccine doses should mask up indoors.

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Coronavirus USA: why is the CDC recommending that vaccinated people wear masks indoors?
EMILY ELCONIN REUTERS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to update its covid-19 guidance to advise that even fully vaccinated people should wear masks indoors to help combat the United States’ rising infection rate.

The decision is expected to be announced later on Tuesday and is thought to be a direct consequence of concern that the more transmissible Delta variant is causing another spike of cases. Officials still believe that fully vaccinated people are far less likely to suffer serious illness and only represent a very small proportion of covid-19 transmission, but this new guidance outlines the severity of the situation.

The CDC’s updated recommendation does not automatically become the federal government’s official policy but it may encourage states and local authorities to reimpose their own mask mandates indoors.

Mask mandates are back in certain parts of the United States

Last Sunday Dr Anthony Fuaci, the White House chief medical advisor, told CNN’s State of the Union that health authorities were considering whether to revise mask guidance due to the rising infection rate.

The national vaccination campaign had been credited with causing a drop in case numbers earlier this summer but with the vaccine rate stalling there is concern that the Delta variant will only grow in severity.

Fauci said that convincing those who have not yet got a shot will be crucial to the return to normality, saying: “We’ve got to get more people who relate well to the individuals who are not getting vaccinated to get out there and encourage them to get vaccinated.”

His comments came after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis publically called on residents to get the vaccine, as did Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana. Los Angeles county and St Louis, Missouri have already reintroduced the indoor mask mandate and several counties across California and Nevada are now advising everyone to return to indoor mask-wearing.

Delta variant changes the calculation for health authorities

As was the case in 2020, health officials are expecting another surge in coronavirus cases as we head into the fall season and the highly infectious Delta variant makes the prospect even more dangerous. It comes as businesses and schools across the country are preparing for a return to normality with millions of workers expected back in offices and children back in classrooms.

The latest data from the CDC suggests that around 83% of new covid-19 cases in the United States are the Delta variant and that number appears to be growing rapidly. Little over a month ago, on 19 June, the Delta variant accounted for roughly 30% of new cases.