The quickly spreading delta variant of the coronavirus has lifted most US counties into infection rates that necessitate the wearing of masks indoors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. "Over 90% of counties in the United States are experiencing substantial or high transmission," Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, said at a briefing Thursday, CNBC reports. Under CDC guidelines, vaccinated and unvaccinated people now should wear masks indoors. The agency tweaked its recommendations two weeks ago to this standard. In Vermont, for example, that means people in 9 of the 14 counties should mask up, per VTDigger.
The CDC counted 132,384 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, Walensky said. That put the seven-day average around 113,000 cases per day, up almost 24% from the week before. Hospital admissions rose about 31% over the previous week, to about 9,700 per day. The vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths are among unvaccinated patients, the director said. The White House's coronavirus response coordinator told reporters there's hope on that front. "Vaccination requirements are gaining momentum across the country and are already covering tens of millions of workers, educators, college and university students and health-care providers," Jeffrey Zients said. (Actor answers those who refuse to wear a mask.)