The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises vaccinated people to stay indoors in areas where virus transmission is high.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their mask recommendations on Tuesday. The CDC is now recommending that some fully vaccinated people who reside in areas with significant or high spread wear masks indoors, reversing its previous position.

With the exception of the Northeast and sections of the Upper Midwest, much of the country currently falls into this category. If you wish to know the area of spread in your county, the CDC provides this information.

The CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, acknowledged that people are “weary and frustrated” and stated, “This was not a choice that was taken lightly.”

However, according to new research, while vaccinated people still pose a modest danger, they can become infected and transfer the virus to others in rare situations.

“Every day, the delta variation demonstrates its willingness to outsmart us,” Walensky added.

“When we look at the amount of virus in patients who have had rare breakout infections, it’s fairly similar to the amount of virus in people who haven’t been vaccinated,” she added. It’s also feasible that people with delta breakthrough instances will be able to disseminate the virus because of the larger viral load.

“Unlike the alpha variant that we had back in May, when we didn’t feel you could transmit further if you were vaccinated,” she added, “this is different now with the delta variant.”

The CDC’s move comes as the highly transmissible delta strain feeds a surge in cases across the country, and many places, including Los Angeles County and St. Louis, have imposed indoor mask laws. Many public health experts have been urging the FDA to revise its policy for weeks, arguing that fully vaccinated people should wear masks indoors, particularly in places where the virus is spreading rapidly.

“We now have places reporting over 300 cases per 100,000, which is a tremendous amount of viral transmission,” Walensky explained. She also urged others who have not yet been vaccinated to do so.

“The biggest spread of infections and severe outcomes occur in areas with poor vaccination rates and among the unvaccinated,” she explained. “The resulting illness, misery, and death may have been averted,” says the author.

In addition, even if they are vaccinated, the CDC recommends that all teachers, staff, and students in K-12 institutions wear masks. Children remain vulnerable to the virus as the delta version spreads, particularly in areas where vaccination rates are low. The vaccines are not approved for children under the age of 12, and many teenagers have not yet received their shots. Mandatory masking in schools for all students (over 2 years old), employees, and teachers, regardless of vaccination status, is also recommended by the nation’s main organization of physicians.

In May, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people could stop masking in most situations. Cases were rapidly declining at the time, and the vaccine effort was in full gear. On the day the policy was announced, about 2 million shots were given out. Walensky said at the time, “You can do things you couldn’t do due to the pandemic.” The goal was to remove the mask requirement so more people would get vaccinated. When the outdoor mask mandate was withdrawn in April, President Biden noted that “this is another fantastic reason to get vaccinated now” for individuals who haven’t been vaccinated or believe they don’t need to be.

However, three months later, about 30% of adults in the United States have not been vaccinated. According to polls, up to 80% of non-vaccinated individuals are unlikely to change their beliefs.

According to Dr. Zeke Emanuel, a health policy researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, the decision to withdraw the mask mandate in the spring wasn’t properly thought out, and the FDA has been postponing taking action as the delta variant spreads.

“I believe the CDC’s view on masks has been off the mark practically the entire time,” he said. “I don’t believe they’ve dealt with the mask issue.”

The CDC has been under increasing pressure to change its school masking policy. According to Dr. Judy Guzman-Cottrill, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Oregon Health & Science University, school officials lack the tools to keep track of who has been vaccinated and who hasn’t.

Kids will be left defenseless if universal masking is not implemented, or they may be tempted to remove their masks. “I’m concerned that certain students may be singled out for wearing masks at school, which could lead to bullying and peer pressure to remove masks, even if they’re not safe,” Guzman-Cottrill said.


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