It was only a matter of roughly eight weeks ago that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finally announced an end to the face mask guidance for those who had received the COVID-19 vaccine. It was a welcomed bit of news after a long year, and President Joe Biden proclaimed it was a “great day in America.”
However, thanks to the spread of the contagious “Delta” variant of the virus, the CDC has completely reversed course, yet again, and issued the order on Tuesday that a large swath of Americans are to immediately begin donning masks indoors — even those who’ve been vaccinated, according to CNBC.
“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 protect others. This includes schools,” the CDC announced.
The agency stopped just short of a nationwide, blanket mandate, instructing those in areas of “substantial” or “high” virus transmission rates — which covers most of the South and West — to mask up.
“Today, we have new science related to the delta variant that requires us to update the guidance regarding what you can do when you are fully vaccinated,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on a call with reporters. “This pandemic continues to pose a serious threat to the health of all Americans.”
The news paints a grim picture, as many health experts had already predicted a resurgence of the virus in the fall, to some degree, but it’s only July, and case counts are already spiking across the country.
As the start of the new school year approaches — a year believed by most to be the first return back to normalcy in over a year — the CDC’s insistence that students, teachers, and all school staffers mask up will undoubtedly cause a new round of controversy.
Biden promised Americans on Tuesday that strapping on the mask — and getting vaccinated — will lead to evading the dreaded lockdowns and other restrictions that nearly crushed the U.S. economy last year.
“More vaccinations and mask wearing in the areas most impacted by the Delta variant will enable us to avoid the kind of lockdowns, shutdowns, school closures, and disruptions we faced in 2020,” the president said.