UNITED STATES NEWS

EXPLAINER: Why masks are again advised for everyone indoors

Jul 28, 2021, 8:00 PM
FILE - A student wears a face mask while doing work at his desk at the Post Road Elementary School,...

FILE - A student wears a face mask while doing work at his desk at the Post Road Elementary School, in White Plains, N.Y., in this Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, file photo. U.S. health officials say the highly contagious delta version of the coronavirus is behind changes to mask guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week announced that fully vaccinated people should resume wearing masks indoors if they live in areas where the virus is surging. CDC officials said new information about the spread of the delta variant forced them to reverse course. The agency also said teachers and students everywhere should go back to wearing masks in schools. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, FIle)

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, FIle)

NEW YORK (AP) — Wait, we’re supposed to wear masks again? Even if we are vaccinated?

For a large part of the U.S., that’s the latest advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC this week revisited and revised its guidance for wearing masks indoors to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The change comes two months after the agency eased its mask advice, declaring that fully vaccinated people no longer had to cover up at indoor public places. Since then, the agency also said vaccinated adults and teens no longer needed to wear them at summer camps and schools.

A look at the latest developments:

WHAT CHANGED?

CDC officials announced that people who are fully vaccinated should resume wearing masks indoors if they live in areas where the virus is surging — which is most of the country, or more than 60% of U.S. counties. Masks generally aren’t needed outdoors.

The agency also said everyone — teachers and students — should go back to wearing masks in schools, whether the virus is surging in your community or not.

The CDC wasn’t the first to call for the return of masks. In recent weeks, a number of cities and towns in hot spots have brought back indoor mask rules. The list includes municipalities ranging in size from Los Angeles to Provincetown, Massachusetts. More places, as well as businesses, took steps to join the list after Tuesday’s CDC announcement, including Kansas City and the state of Nevada.

WHY THE CHANGE?

It’s all because of the highly contagious delta version of the virus, the CDC said. That variant is driving surges of COVID-19 in much of the country and now accounts for more than 80% of infections. CDC officials said new information about its spread forced them to reverse course.

The vast majority of new infections in the U.S. continue to be among unvaccinated people. Rarely, some vaccinated people do end up getting infected as well, although the vaccine cushions the blow and generally protects them from severe illness.

Previously, vaccinated people with “breakthrough infections” had low levels of virus and were unlikely to spread the virus much, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. But new data shows that isn’t the case with the delta variant. Vaccinated people “have the potential to spread that virus to others,” she said.

WHAT DIDN’T CHANGE?

The guidance for anyone who hadn’t gotten a COVID-19 vaccine stays the same: Masks are recommended indoors, pretty much everywhere.

Everyone — regardless of vaccination or location — should wear a mask while at airports or train stations, or while riding buses, trains or other public transportation.

Hospitals, stores and businesses may require masks, too.

The CDC did not explicitly change its guidance for summer camps, mostly because the season is ending and schools are opening soon.

WHERE ARE THE HOT SPOTS?

The new guidance is for areas with substantial or high virus spread, as shown on a CDC map. That means at least 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week.

New case rates are particularly high in the South and Southwest, according to the CDC tracker. In Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida, every county exceeds the CDC benchmark. And rates are high in all but a few counties in Alabama, Mississippi and Missouri.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

United States News

This undated photo provided by the Nevada Department of Corrections shows Porfirio Duarte-Herrera, ...
Associated Press

Police arrest convicted Vegas bombmaker who escaped prison

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Police have arrested a convicted bombmaker who escaped from a Nevada prison where he was serving a life sentence for a deadly 2007 explosion outside a Las Vegas Strip, authorities said. Las Vegas police said they received information Wednesday night that a person matching the description of Porfirio Duarte-Herrera was in […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

Biden, Harris to attend Jackson’s Supreme Court investiture

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses will attend the ceremonial investiture for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the Supreme Court’s newest member and its first Black female justice, a White House official said. The appearance of Biden and Harris at the invitation-only ceremony on Friday underscores the importance of […]
5 hours ago
Doreen Bogdan-Martin of the United States, candidate for secretary general, smiles during the openi...
Associated Press

US candidate to lead UN telecoms agency after US-Russia race

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Doreen Bogdan-Martin of the United States was elected Thursday to head the U.N.’s telecommunications agency, winning a U.S.-Russia face-off for the leadership of a key global agency that sets guideposts for radio, internet and television communications — ending a race that has been overshadowed by geopolitics in the wake of Russia’s […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

Police: 2 killed, 10 injured in three-car crash in Texas

UVALDE, TEXAS (AP) — A road accident in Texas Wednesday evening killed two people and left 10 injured, police said. Authorities in Uvalde said the accident occurred around 6:30 p.m. on Highway 90 near the downtown area of Uvalde, KSAT-TV reported. Border Patrol agents reportedly saw a black truck speeding on the highway before crashing […]
1 day ago
Utility trucks are staged ahead of Hurricane Ian, near the Florida Turnpike, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2...
Associated Press

People trapped, 2.5M without power as Ian drenches Florida

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Hurricane Ian left a path of destruction in southwest Florida, trapping people in flooded homes, damaging the roof of a hospital intensive care unit and knocking out power to 2.5 million people as it dumped rain across the peninsula on Thursday. One of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the […]
1 day ago
A currency trader watches monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headqu...
Associated Press

Global stocks fall after UK’s Truss defends tax cuts

BEIJING (AP) — European stocks tumbled Thursday and Asian markets were mixed after British Prime Minister Liz Truss defended a tax-cut plan that rattled investors. London’s market benchmark plunged 2.3% and Frankfurt lost 1.9% in early trading. Shanghai and Hong Kong also declined. Tokyo and Seoul advanced. The future for Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
EXPLAINER: Why masks are again advised for everyone indoors