Share this
WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was expected to backpedal Tuesday on its masking guidelines and recommend that even vaccinated people wear masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging, a federal official said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss details of the new policy. The CDC was expected to make an announcement later in the day.

The new guidance follows recent decisions in Los Angeles and St. Louis to revert to indoor mask mandates amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that have been especially bad in the South. The country is averaging more than 57,000 cases a day and 24,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations.

For much of the pandemic, the CDC advised Americans to wear masks outdoors if they were within 6 feet of one another.

Then in April, as vaccination rates rose sharply, the agency eased its guidelines on the wearing of masks outdoors, saying that fully vaccinated Americans no longer needed to cover their faces unless they were in a big crowd of strangers. In May, the guidance was eased further for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.

The guidance still called for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings, like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it cleared the way for reopening workplaces and other venues.

Subsequent CDC guidance said fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks at summer camps or at schools, either.

For months COVID cases, deaths and hospitalizations were falling steadily, but those trends began to change at the beginning of the summer as a mutated and more transmissible version of the coronavirus, the delta variant, began to spread widely, especially in areas with lower vaccination rates.

Some public health experts said they thought the earlier CDC decision was based on good science, which indicated that the risk of vaccinated people spreading the virus was relatively low and that the risk of them catching the virus and becoming extremely ill was even lower.

But those experts were also critical, noting that there was no call for Americans to document their vaccination status, which created an honor system. Unvaccinated people who did not want to wear masks in the first place saw it as an opportunity to do what they wanted, they said.

“If all the unvaccinated people were responsible and wore mask indoors, we would not be seeing this surge,” said Dr. Ali Khan, a former CDC disease investigator who now is dean of the University of Nebraska’s College of Public Health.

Lawrence Gostin, a public health law professor at Georgetown University, drew a similar conclusion.

“It was completely foreseeable that when they (the CDC) made their announcement, masking would no longer be the norm, and that’s exactly what’s happened,” Gostin said.

The CDC may be seen as “flip-flopping,” he said, because there’s been no widely recognized change in the science, he said. Furthermore, it’s not likely to change the behavior of the people who most need to wear masks.

“I don’t think you can effectively walk that back,” he said.

Ken Thigpen, a retired respiratory therapist who now works for a medical device manufacturer, is fully vaccinated and stopped wearing his mask in public after the CDC changed its guidance in May. But he started to reconsider in the last week after his job took him to hospitals Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida, where he witnessed medical centers getting inundated with COVID-19 patients.

“That delta variant is intense. It is so transmissible that we have to do something to tamp it down,” he said.

“I loved it when I could call the hospitals and they said, ‘We actually closed our COVID ward today or we are down to two COVID patients,'” he recalled. “And now we are opening the wards back up, and the numbers are going nuts.”


Associated Press Writer Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas, contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Source: ABC7

Share this
You May Also Like

Indian Traders Using Asian Currencies to Buy Russian Coal

Indian traders have reportedly been settling payments for Russian coal in currencies…
Domino's is reportedly ending pizza sales in Italy

Domino’s is reportedly ending pizza sales in Italy

The birthplace of pizza has vanquished America’s largest chain of pies. Domino’s…
Eli Manning confident in Brian Daboll and Daniel Jones

Eli Manning confident in Brian Daboll and Daniel Jones

Eli Manning is rooting for his friend Daniel Jones and thinks that…

Trump-backed Michels wins Wisconsin GOP governor primary

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Tim Michels, a wealthy businessman endorsed by former…
Trump National Security Adviser to meet with Jan. 6 committee

Trump National Security Adviser to meet with Jan. 6 committee

WASHINGTON — The House Jan. 6 committee is set to interview former…

Body cam shows man shot by Jacksonville police said he was armed

The video shows that the Jacksonville officer used a stun gun first,…
Emotional: Olivia Newton-John's niece Tottie Goldsmith broke down in tears during an interview for Australia's A Current Affair on Tuesday, as she revealed the singer was 'really skinny and unwell' before her death aged 73

Olivia Newton-John’s niece Tottie Goldsmith says Grease star suffered in her final days

Tottie Goldsmith broke down in tears during an interview with A Current…
GOP Senators Press the Breaks, Cautioning Voters That a Senate Majority is Not Guaranteed – RedState

GOP Senators Press the Breaks, Cautioning Voters That a Senate Majority is Not Guaranteed – RedState

Republican senators are sounding the alarm that their party could very well…