Fully Vaccinated Americans Should Wear Masks Indoors Again in Places Where Virus Is Surging, CDC Says

It's possible for vaccinated people with "breakthrough infections" to transmit the virus to others, the CDC says.

Just as the nation was starting to see the COVID-19 pandemic in the rear view mirror, masks are back as the Delta variant sweeps the country. In a major reversal in guidance, the Centers for Disease Control announced that all Americans should wear masks indoors again where the virus is surging, regardless of vaccination status.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky and Dr. Anthony Fauci took to the airways to explain the reversal is based on new data about breakthrough cases.

"The vaccines continue to do an exceptional job in protecting the individual who is vaccinated from severe illness, hospitalization and death, and even against mild illness," Walensky said during a briefing. "In those rare cases that we have breakthrough infections, we felt it important for people to understand they have the potential to transmit virus to others."

The CDC released a color-coded map, with every county in red and yellow representing areas of "high" and "substantial" levels of community transmission. Those are the counties where vaccinated people should wear masks indoors, Walensky said.

The areas represent 60% of the country, including all of Florida, and the nation’s three largest cities — New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

As of Wednesday, everyone at the White House, including staff, the press and visitors must be masked indoors at all times. That includes President Joe Biden, although he was seen unmasked as he toured a Mack Truck plant in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

For a link to the CDC map, click here

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