Masking inside schools, regardless of vaccine status, is required as an important way to deal with the changing realities of virus transmission. — Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers
Masking inside schools, regardless of vaccine status, is required as an important way to deal with the changing realities of virus transmission. — Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers
As Infections Rise, C.D.C. Urges Some Vaccinated Americans to Wear Masks Again
In communities with growing caseloads, vaccinated and unvaccinated people should return to wearing masks indoors in public areas, health officials said.

Revising a decision made just two months ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday that people vaccinated against the coronavirus should resume wearing masks in public indoor spaces in parts of the country where the virus is surging.

C.D.C. officials also called for universal masking for teachers, staff, students and visitors in schools, regardless of vaccination status and community transmission of the virus. With additional precautions, schools nonetheless should return to in-person learning in the fall.

The recommendations are another baleful twist in the course of America’s pandemic, a war-weary concession that the virus is outstripping vaccination efforts. The agency’s move follows rising case counts in states like Florida and Missouri, as well as growing reports of breakthrough infections of the more contagious Delta variant among people who are fully immunized.

“The Delta variant is showing every day its willingness to outsmart us,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the C.D.C., said at a news briefing on Tuesday.

The C.D.C. said Americans should resume wearing masks in areas where there are more than 50 new infections per 100,000 residents over the previous seven days, or more than 8 percent of tests are positive for infection over that period. Health officials should reassess these figures weekly and change local restrictions accordingly, the agency said.

By those criteria, all residents of Florida, Arkansas and Louisiana, for example, should wear masks indoors. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. counties qualify, many concentrated in the South.


The agency said that even vaccinated Americans in areas without surges might consider wearing a mask in public indoor settings if they or someone in their household has an impaired immune system or is at risk for severe disease, or if someone in the household is unvaccinated.

That includes vaccinated parents of children under age 12, who are currently ineligible for the shots.

C.D.C. officials were persuaded by new scientific evidence showing that even vaccinated people may become infected and may carry the virus in great amounts, perhaps even similar to those in unvaccinated people, Dr. Walensky acknowledged at the news briefing.

Data from several states and other countries show that the variant behaves differently from previous versions of the coronavirus, she added: “This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendation.”

... The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, the two leading teachers’ unions, strongly endorsed the C.D.C.’s move to universal masking in schools.

“Masking inside schools, regardless of vaccine status, is required as an important way to deal with the changing realities of virus transmission,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the A.F.T. “It is a necessary precaution until children under 12 can receive a Covid vaccine and more Americans over 12 get vaccinated.”
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/27/health/covid-cdc-masks-vaccines-delta-variant.html