CDC Reverses Indoor Mask Policy For Vaccinated People, Calls For Universal Masking In Public Schools


Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rochelle Walensky listens during the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington,DC on July 20, 2021. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rochelle Walensky on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)


The CDC flip-flopped on its masking guidelines for people who have been fully vaccinated. During a media telebriefing on Tuesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced new recommendations for fully vaccinated people in high transmission areas to wear face masks indoors.

This marked an about face from just two months ago in May, when they said fully vaccinated individuals could forgo mask wearing in almost all settings. During the meeting, Walensky cited the Delta variant sweeping through areas with low vaccination rates as the reason for this change.

“Information on the Delta variant from several states and other countries indicates that in rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others,” she stated. “This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants and update to our recommendation.”

The agency also announced recommendations for everyone in K-12 schools to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. However, Walensky said all children should return to in person learning as long as CDC guidelines were followed.

“CDC recommends that everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask indoors including teachers, students, staff and visitors regardless of vaccination status,” she explained. “…Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with proper prevention strategies in place.”

This comes a week after mask requirements were reinstated in Los Angeles County, where people had mixed reactions. While some residents have agreed on continuing to wear a mask after being vaccinated, others were not as inclined.

“No I don’t want to do that, not at all,” one Los Angeles County resident explained. “I’ve got the vaccine. I’m good.”

The CDC recommends mask wearing in places that have seen 50 new infections per 100,000 residents over the past week. According to the New York Times,  almost two thirds of U.S. counties qualified under that guidance.

Meanwhile, experts say vaccines are still highly effective against the Delta variant, with breakthrough COVID cases still being very rare.

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