On Tuesday, Apoorva Mandavilli reported for the New York Times that the CDC was widely believed to be set to recommend this week that those who are vaccinated against COVID-19 “resume wearing masks indoors under certain circumstances.” According to Mandavilli, the revised guidance could arrive as soon as Tuesday, while a separate CNN report claimed the update could be unveiled later this week.
In May, the CDC had updated its mask guidance to let those who were fully vaccinated know they could safely resume a variety of maskless activities, including in many indoor areas. The expected update this week would mark a partial walking back of that guidance and is inspired by the twofold problem of a less-than-ideal nationwide vaccination rate and concerning numbers associated with the Delta variant.
Prior to the expected revisions that made headlines on Tuesday, the most recent update to the agency’s interim public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people focused on adding in considerations for those who are immunocompromised.
A person is considered fully vaccinated roughly two weeks or more after they’ve received the second dose of either the Pfizer or Modern vaccine, or roughly two weeks or more after they have received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Previously cited evidence suggests that those who are fully vaccinated are far less likely to have an asymptomatic infection and/or to transmit to others, though recent concerns surrounding the Delta variant have inspired many to call for a partial return to indoor masking, particularly in crowded situations.
When reached by Complex for additional comment, a CDC rep said a telebriefing was set for Tuesday.
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 CoOVID-19," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said via CNN.
"This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations," she said. "This is not a decision that we or CDC has made lightly."
For a closer look at the alarming numbers under-vaccinated regions of the country are putting on the board as of late, CNN’s chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins pointed out on Tuesday morning that every single county in the states of Arkansas and Louisiana presently qualify as high community transmission areas.
In fact, as of the most current data, just 9 percent of all U.S. counties are currently at a low-risk level of community transmission.