The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended on Tuesday that Americans vaccinated against coronavirus wear masks indoors in areas of the country with high levels of coronavirus transmission.
Vaccinated Americans are now encouraged to wear masks indoors in counties with a “high” or “substantial” level of transmission, as delineated on the CDC website. Currently, areas with “high” or “substantial” transmission include states in the South as well as much of Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, and Wyoming.
The change in CDC guidance comes amid the spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus, with over 95 percent of newly hospitalized COVID-19 patients unvaccinated. Federal officials have been considering a change in masking recommendations because of an increase in “breakthrough” infections, CNN reported on Monday.
The CDC also recommended on Tuesday that all students and teachers in K-12 schools wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status.
Former Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb said vulnerable Americans who are vaccinated against coronavirus could still take “precautions” against infection, in comments to MSNBC’s Squawk Box earlier this month.
“If you’re in a location where there’s dense spread . . . I think people need to start taking precautions, including people who are fully vaccinated, if you’re a vulnerable individual,” Gottlieb said, adding that examples of vulnerable Americans include the elderly and immunocompromised.
Gottlieb said on Sunday that wearing a mask can “still be helpful” against the Delta variant, although the quality of the mask itself is important.
The quality of one’s mask matters in protecting against the COVID-19 Delta variant, @ScottGottliebMD says: “If you can get your hands on a KN95 mask or an N-95 mask, that’s going to afford you a lot more protection.” pic.twitter.com/WQHIInBxwW
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) July 25, 2021
“A mask can still be helpful. I think, though, that if you’re going to consider wearing a mask, the quality of the mask does matter,” Gottlieb said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “So if you can get your hands on a KN95 mask or an N95 mask, that’s going to afford you a lot more protection” than a cloth mask.