CDC Reverses Mask Guidance As Delta Variant of COVID-19 Spreads Nationwide
We knew it would happen eventually. The CDC announced Tuesday afternoon that they are reversing their original guidance on wearing masks. The decision comes as the Delta variant of COVID-19 is continuing to spread, day after day, across the nation.
Their suggestion states that along with unvaccinated individuals, anyone who is vaccinated in areas with "substantial" and "high" transmission rates should wear masks indoors in public to help eliminate the possible spread of the variant.
"This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. "This is not a decision that we or CDC has made lightly."
They are also reversing their decision on masks in schools as well, saying universal masks should be "embraced." Earlier this month, it was suggested that vaccinated students and staff were safe to go without.
"CDC recommends localities encourage universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status," the CDC wrote in a summary of the new guidance. "Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with proper prevention strategies are in place."
The number of COVID cases in New York is back on the rise. As of July 26, the statewide infection rate passed two percent. Governor Andrew Cuomo said that 75 percent of New York adults have already received at least one dose of the vaccine, but that there is still work to do to get the remainder vaccinated.
"COVID-19 continues to spread in New York State and new variants are cause for concern, so it's absolutely vital that every New Yorker who hasn't gotten vaccinated yet does so immediately," Governor Cuomo said.
Although the number of cases are rising, Cuomo says he's not going to announce new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. Monday afternoon, he said any decisions on things like mask mandates or vaccination requirements will be made by local officials. But, if the number of infections skyrocket, the governor says the state would step in and declare a health emergency.