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CDC urges masks indoors, including at schools, as cases rise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Tuesday that some people vaccinated against Covid-19 resume wearing face masks indoors as new data indicates fully vaccinated individuals can spread the dangerous delta variant.

Washington, 28 July 2021 (dpa/MIA) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Tuesday that some people vaccinated against Covid-19 resume wearing face masks indoors as new data indicates fully vaccinated individuals can spread the dangerous delta variant.

The rising threat of infection led the agency to say that individuals in areas of “high” or “substantial” transmission of Covid-19 should wear masks indoors, whether or not they are vaccinated.

All students, staff and visitors to K-12 schools should wear a mask when students resume in-person learning in the fall, regardless of vaccination status, the CDC said.

The CDC defines high transmission as more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days.

Nearly half – 1,496 – of U.S. counties are at this high level of transmission, according to CDC data. Over 17 per cent of other counties are currently at levels of substantial transmission, with 50 to 99 new cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days.

President Joe Biden said more steps to increase vaccination would be announced Thursday.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters that new data from other countries suggests some fully vaccinated individuals infected with the delta variant may be contagious and can spread the virus to others.

Getting the Covid-19 vaccine reduces the risk of infection upon exposure to the delta variant by seven-fold and reduces the risk of hospitalization and death by 20-fold, the CDC director said.

But although the immediate risks of a breakthrough Covid-19 infection are thought to be small among the vaccinated, there could be long-term consequences throughout communities.

“The big concern is that the next variant that might emerge, just a few mutations potentially away, could potentially evade our vaccine,” Walensky said when asked why vaccinated individuals should mask up when the unvaccinated are causing most of the virus’s spread at this point.

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