In recognition of the rising threat posed by the Delta variant, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today revised their guidance regarding mask use for vaccinated people.
➡️ Highlights of the new recommendations:
💥 Vaccinated people should wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission. The numbers corresponding to these transmission categories and where your county falls can be found here.
💥 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.
💥 Fully vaccinated people who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be tested 3-5 days after exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
➡️ AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST:
💥The CDC recommends that schools implement universal indoor masking for all students, teachers, and staff, even among people who are vaccinated.
It should be noted that the CDC issues recommendations, not mandates, so specific policies are still be left up to local and state officials, as well as businesses and schools.
The guidance reflects the changing situation with Delta as well as emerging evidence that vaccinated people may be more likely to get infected with Delta than previous variants, and thus can possibly transmit to others (though this probability is still dramatically lower than if unvaccinated). When cases are high, the chances of any person, vaccinated or unvaccinated getting exposed to the virus is higher, and masks help mitigate this risk.
The CDC guidance should make it easier for those who want to step up precautions in areas where transmission is high.
We know many parents will be relieved at the recommendation for masking in schools since kids under 12 have not yet had an opportunity to be vaccinated. Again, the decision will be down to local schools and districts, but the CDC recommendation should bolster overall support for such policies.
We know the changing CDC guidance has raised some eyebrows over these many months, but we do appreciate our public servants making difficult calls with rapidly changing information. We know this may feel like two steps forward and one step back, but we ARE making progress thanks to vaccinations. With Delta rising, taking a step towards more precautions in areas with high transmission and with lots of unvaccinated people indoors (schools) makes a lot of sense.