White House officials are debating whether to encourage Americans to resume wearing masks in certain additional settings, six sources familiar with the discussions told the Washington Post.
The White House is considering a range of ideas, such as urging Americans to wear masks in public and indoor spaces where vaccinated and unvaccinated people mix, two of the sources said. New recommendations would be instituted to protect the unvaccinated population.
Any new guidance on mask-wearing would be approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Post reported.
President Biden suggested that children under the age of 12 will need to continue to wear masks when they return to school in the fall, at a CNN town hall meeting on Wednesday.
“The CDC is going to say that what we should do is everyone . . . under the age of 12 should probably be wearing a mask in school,” Biden said. Coronavirus vaccines have not received U.S. authorization for children under 12.
The deliberations on new masking guidance were sparked by a rise in coronavirus cases throughout the U.S. due to the spread of the more-contagious Delta variant. The seven-day average of new cases in the U.S. was 41,300 on Wednesday, up from about 12,000 at the end of June, according to data compiled by the New York Times.
Deaths and hospitalizations from coronavirus have not risen as sharply thanks to widespread vaccination efforts. Unvaccinated Americans account for 97 percent of new hospitalizations and a majority of Covid-19-related deaths, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday.