The agency said that vaccinated people who live in high-transmission areas should wear masks in indoor public spaces to help prevent the more transmissive Delta variant from continuing its surge. It was a reversal of guidance issued just two weeks ago by the entity.
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The CDC is also advising those with vulnerable people in their households, even if they are vaccinated, to wear masks in public indoors. Vulnerable people are not just those who are immunocompromised, but also the tens of millions of American children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated. As part of that, the agency is urging universal masking for all teachers, staff members and students in schools, regardless of vaccination status.
Last Thursday, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients identified three major regions of concern. “This week, said Zients, “just three states Florida, Texas and Missouri, three states with lower vaccination rates accounted for 40 percent of all cases nationwide. For the second week in a row, one in five of all cases occurring in Florida alone. And within communities, these cases are primarily among unvaccinated people.”
Beyond the raw numbers of cases, states where transmission rates were highest on Tuesday included Florida, with a massive 341 infections per 100,000 residents, Alabama with 215 per 100,000 and Mississippi with 214 per 100,000. That according to Reuters. For more granular analysis of rates, see map below.
The announcement follows a similar masking order in Los Angeles last week and a push for vaccinations across the nation, which includes verification for VA Employees, all New York City employees and all healthcare workers in California as well as people employed by that state.
In California, as the CDC was making its announcement, Governor Gavin Newsom said he wanted to see the CDC guidance before commenting: “We’ll take a look at it and, within the next couple of hours, put out a statement.”
Over the weekend, President Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, said on CNN that numbers were “going in the wrong direction” because too many Americans were still unvaccinated.
Fauci told CNN that requiring masks for vaccinated people in public was “under active consideration.”
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