The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course Tuesday on its mask guidance for those who have already been vaccinated.
People who have taken the vaccine already are recommended to wear facial coverings in areas having high rates of COVID-19 transmissibility.
“To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission,” the new guidelines read.
According to CNBC, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that a potential revision of mask guidance for vaccinated Americans was “under active consideration” by the CDC.
— Ben Tracy (@benstracy) July 27, 2021
CDC guidelines are non-binding.
It is up to local governments to make the decision to enforce mask rules or not. CDC guidelines, nonetheless, influence this process.
Two months prior, Biden had announced it was a “great day in America” when the CDC rolled back some of its COVID-19 recommendations, according to CNN.
The CDC at the time said vaccinated individuals could go indoors without having to wear masks, unlike unvaccinated individuals.
The change to the guidelines comes as reports emerged pointing out that there is a rise in the number of delta variant infections breaking through people who have already been vaccinated, the Times reported.
Nevertheless, the vaccine is reportedly effective enough to safeguard the infected against the worst possible outcomes the virus could inflict, according to the Times.
The Delta variant, first observed in India, is one of the “most infectious respiratory diseases seen by experts,” according to CNBC.
It is the dominant strain of the coronavirus, NBC News reported.
“The delta variant is more aggressive and much more transmissible than previously circulating strains,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a news briefing on Thursday, according to CNBC.
“It is one of the most infectious respiratory viruses we know of, and that I have seen in my 20-year career,” she said.
“I think that’s great,” Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist working for Bellevue Hospital Center in New York, told the Times, speaking ahead of the antipated guidance reversal.
Considering the Delta variant’s ability to cause breakthrough infections, Gounder said the CDC move is one “in the right direction.”
UPDATE, July 27, 2021: Following the publication of this story, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially released updated guidelines regarding mask use.
“To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission,” the guidelines now read.
This story, and its headlines, have been updated to reflect this new information.
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