Agency recommends masks for all in public indoor settings as Delta variant rages on

The CDC now advises fully vaccinated people wear a mask in public indoor settings where there is “substantial or high transmission” of Covid-19 B.1.617.2 (Delta variant) circulating in the United States. This is an update to its current guidelines.

“In recent days I have seen new scientific data from recent outbreak investigations showing that the Delta variant behaves uniquely differently from past strains of the virus that cause Covid-19,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said during a media briefing on Tuesday, CNN reported.

“This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations,” she added. “This is not a decision that we or CDC has made lightly.”

The primary driver, CNN reported, is that vaccinated people can be infected with the Delta variant and can “still play a small role in transmission,” though breakthrough infections remain rare. The Delta variant comprises at least 83% of cases now, compared with 1% of reported infections in May of this year.

The agency also noted that those who are fully vaccinated “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.”

The CDC is also recommending that fully vaccinated people with a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 be tested for the virus 3-5 days post-exposure. These individuals should also wear a mask in public indoor settings for two weeks or until their tests come back negative for Covid-19.

Lastly, “CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status,” the agency wrote.

The American Medical Association issued a statement supporting the CDC’s move. AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD, said, “With cases of Covid-19 continuing to increase in the United States and a significant number of people who remain unvaccinated, the CDC’s updated mask guidance is needed to help curb the spread of Covid-19—particularly the Delta variant, which we know is much more contagious.”

He added that the association strongly supports the revised guidance and noted, “Wearing a mask is a small, but important protective measure that can help us all stay safer. The AMA continues to strongly encourage everyone who is eligible for Covid-19 vaccines to get vaccinated as soon as possible. We urge anyone with questions about the vaccines to speak with their physician and review trusted resources, including getvaccineanswers.org.”

Candace Hoffmann, Managing Editor, BreakingMED™

Cat ID: 190

Topic ID: 79,190,730,933,190,926,192,927,151,928,925,934