US urges vaccinated people to wear masks indoors amid Covid-19 spike

Washington, Jul 27 (EFE).- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday that in the parts of the United States where Covid-19 infections are surging, vaccinated people should wear masks in closed public spaces.

“In areas with substantial and high transmission, CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks in public indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and to protect others,” the federal agency’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said.

The more contagious Delta variant, first identified in India, now accounts for 83 percent of new coronavirus infections in the US, according to data from the CDC.

Two months ago, the CDC said that fully vaccinated people could dispense with masks in most situations and the agency stuck to that guidance even after the World Health Organization said at the end of June that vaccinated people should continue to wear masks indoors.

With the start of the school year just weeks away, Walensky said that “proper prevention strategies” should include having everyone who enters a school building wear a mask.

“CDC recommends that everyone in K-12 (kindergarten through secondary) schools wear a mask indoors, including teachers, staff, students and visitors, regardless of vaccination status,” she said.

Based on the CDC benchmark of 50 or more cases for every 100,000 people over seven days, nearly two-third of counties across the US are experiencing substantial or high transmission rates.

“In recent days, I have seen new scientific data from recent outbreak investigations showing that the Delta variant behaves uniquely differently from past strains of the virus that cause Covid-19,” Walensky said.

“Information on the Delta variant from several states and countries indicates that in rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others,” the CDC director said.

In the last seven days, new infections have climbed nearly 47 percent and Covid-19 hospitalizations have increased 32 percent, while the pace of vaccination has slowed considerably.

Only 57 percent of US residents ages 12 and up have been fully vaccinated, the CDC says.

Under the federal system, public health is generally a matter for states and localities in the US and Washington does not have the authority to impose a national mask mandate beyond requiring them on commercial aircraft and interstate trains and buses.

The US continues to lead the world in coronavirus deaths – 611,000 – and confirmed cases, which stand at 34.5 million. EFE


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