CDC Director Reiterates Vaccinated Americans Not Required to Wear Mask at All Times
© AP Photo / Rogelio V. SolisIn this Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021 file photo, a state legislator adjusts her face masks while asking a question at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss. A government study released on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, finds that wearing two masks can better than one, in protecting against coronavirus infection. But health officials are stopping short of recommending that everyone double-up. “The first challenge is to get as many as people as possible masking. And then for those that do mask, to help them get the best benefit out of that mask," said Dr. John Brooks of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
© AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently sparked alarms after officials called on all individuals, including those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, to adhere to masking protocols in order to curb the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. The strain is presently active in 92 countries.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reiterated on Wednesday that persons vaccinated against COVID-19 are not required to wear masks in most situations.
Walensky relayed to the American public during a Wednesday interview on NBC’s “Today” that the health agency is effectively leaving it up to local officials to establish set guidelines for masking practices.
“Local policymakers need to make policies for their local environment,” the director said, emphasizing that such steps need to be especially taken in places where low vaccinations have prompted a surge in new infections. “Those masking policies are not to protect the vaccinated, they’re to protect the unvaccinated.”
“If you are vaccinated, you are safe from the variants that are circulating here in the United States,” she later underscored.
Speaking to the WHO’s recent call for those vaccinated to mask up, Walensky conceded that the recommendation was issued with a global aspect in mind, a consideration that mostly touches on the rising delta cases abroad.
“The WHO really does have to make recommendations for an entire world,” the official acknowledged. “Here in the United States we’re fortunate… and really quite protected from the variants that we have circulating here.”
To date, at least 66.5% of US adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with another 57.4% of adults having been fully vaccinated. Mask mandates were widely lifted in late April for vaccinated individuals, although some restrictions have remained when indoors.
However, data from California-based genomics company Helix has indicated that delta cases make up about 40% of new COVID-19 cases, as the strain has emerged in hundreds of communities across the US. Health officials have warned that the delta strain is more than likely to become the dominant variant nationwide, as well as globally.