Delta variant: US authorities recommend wearing masks again

Status: 07/28/2021 1:39 AM

When the US Health Authority announced in May that it no longer considered masks for people vaccinated with the coronavirus to be necessary almost everywhere, it was considered a milestone in the fight against the pandemic. The delta variable has now forced the experts back.

In a dramatic change due to the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, the US health authority CDC is recommending that masks be worn again in the future. In some parts of the country, where the virus is spreading especially quickly, fully vaccinated people must cover their mouths and noses in public places, including schools.

US President Joe Biden has called for adherence to the new guidelines. “More vaccinations and wearing masks in the areas most affected by the delta variant will allow us to avoid the kind of lockdowns, closures, school closures, and disruptions that we faced in 2020.” The United States will not return to these measures.

According to a media report, Biden also wants to require federal employees and government contractors to vaccinate or be tested regularly. CNN reported that Biden will announce the request on Thursday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Transformation after a milestone in May

Previously, the cities of Los Angeles and St. Louis reintroduced mask requirements indoors because the number of new infections and hospitalizations rose sharply. Currently, the United States has more than 57,000 new cases of coronavirus and 24,000 hospitalizations per day.

In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no longer considers wearing a mask indoors for a fully vaccinated person a requirement for the vast majority of situations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only makes recommendations. In the end, it is up to the US states to make their own decisions, and the information also contributed to the new assessment that there is a high probability of transmission of the virus to vaccinated people.

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CDC Director Rochelle Walinsky emphasized, however, “We believe that the vast majority of transmission occurs in and through unvaccinated people (…)”.

The number of infections is increasing, especially in the south

The number of new cases has risen sharply recently, especially in several southern US states such as Florida, Missouri and Arkansas. The vaccination rate is particularly low there. Just under 50 percent of all Americans – 163 million people – have been fully vaccinated. This is far below what the government has targeted at this point in time.

In contrast to the number of new infections, the number of new deaths per day remains relatively low at less than 300 cases. In December and January this number was regularly over 3000.

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