US asks people vaccinated in high covid risk areas to re-mask

People vaccinated against COVID-19 in high-risk parts of the United States should resume wearing masks indoors, the top health authority said on Tuesday, a major reversal in guidance that stifled the delta version. Outlined the struggle of the country.

President Joe Biden said the announcement showed the US needed to “get better” at vaccination, adding that a vaccine mandate for the country’s more than two million federal workers was now “under consideration”.

Rochelle Valensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cites new data showing that rare success cases involving Delta are at increased risk of onward transmission.

“In areas with substantial and high transmission, the CDC advises fully vaccinated people to wear masks in public indoor settings,” she said.

As recently as last week, the CDC defended its surprise decision in May that people vaccinated did not have to wear masks indoors under most circumstances.

In another setback, the White House on Tuesday also ordered all of its employees to wear masks again in Washington due to local transmission rates.

According to the latest CDC data, 63 percent of the country’s more than 3,200 counties are experiencing substantial or high transmission.

Adequate is defined as 50 to 100 daily cases per 100,000 people in seven days, while high is defined as more than per 100,000 daily cases in seven days.

Biden said on Thursday he would take new steps to close the gap in vaccination after a strong start to his program in the country.

– Viral load –

In a separate address to the US intelligence community, when asked about a potential vaccine mandate for US federal workers, Biden replied: “It’s under consideration.”

On Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs said it would require its frontline health workers, about 115,000 people, to get the shot, becoming the first federal agency to meet the requirement.

Valensky stresses that so-called “breakthrough” cases in people who are vaccinated remain rare – the shots reduce the risk of symptomatic disease by seven times, and hospitalization and death by a factor of twenty.

However, new research from the CDC has shown that when a vaccinated person becomes infected, their viral load is similar to that of an uninfected person.

“This leads us to believe that breakthrough infections, being rare, have the same potential to transmit on an uninfected person,” she said.

To prevent the spread of the delta variant, the CDC will recommend schools adopt universal masking, including for teachers, staff, students and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, when they reopen in the fall, he said. .

Former President Donald Trump, widely accused of mishandling the virus while in office, dismissed the latest recommendations.

“We will not go back. We will not mask our children,” he said in a statement. “Brave Americans learned how to live safely and responsibly and fight back.”

Infection numbers in the United States are now rising, thanks to the delta variant, which accounts for about 90 percent of cases.

The latest seven-day average of daily cases is over 56,000, which is similar to the levels last seen in April.

– Large number of people who died –

Overall, more than 610,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States.

Forty-nine percent of the US population is fully vaccinated, but vaccination rates are steeper toward politically liberal parts of the country.

Valensky stressed that he saw masks as a “temporary” measure, adding: “What we really need to do to reduce these transmissions in areas with high transmission is to vaccinate as many people as possible.” can go.”

According to a recent paper published in the journal Virological, the amount of virus detected in the first trials of patients with the delta variant was 1,000 times higher than in patients with the first wave of the virus in 2020, greatly increasing its infectivity.

Last month, Israel reinstated the mask mandate, just 10 days after lifting them, due to the Delta version, and local US jurisdictions, including Los Angeles County, have taken similar steps.

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