CDC Is Backtracking on Its Mask Advice

Agency is expected to recommend that vaccinated people wear them again indoors
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2021 11:29 AM CDT
CDC Shifting Guidance on Face Masks
A sign advises shoppers to wear masks outside of a store in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Back in May, the CDC told fully vaccinated people they could safely take off their masks in most indoor places. The new advice: Put them back on. The agency on Tuesday is expected to formally change its guidance because of the spike in cases caused by the delta variant, reports the New York Times. One big factor: While vaccinated people aren't likely to become seriously ill, they can still catch the delta variant and pass it on. "Nobody wants to go backward but you have to deal with the facts on the ground, and the facts on the ground are that it's a pretty scary time and there are a lot of vulnerable people," Robert Wachter of the University of California-San Francisco, tells the Washington Post. "I think the biggest thing we got wrong was not anticipating that 30% of the country would choose not to be vaccinated."

The details of the new guidance are expected to be laid out in an afternoon news conference. It's possible the recommendation will apply only to public indoor places in parts of the country where caseloads are high and vaccination rates low. Here is how STAT News explains the issue behind the revised guidelines: Delta "seems to have at least some ability to evade the immune response people generate after being vaccinated," with studies suggesting that the variant causes more so-called "breakthrough" cases than other mutations. (All of the above is why vaccine mandates are becoming more common by the day across the country and the world.)

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