The Biden administration is reportedly considering whether to urge vaccinated Americans to wear masks once again in more settings, amid a nationwide spike in COVID-19 cases from the Delta version.
Top White House aides are in talks with officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has removed its mask mandate for vaccinated people, The Washington Post reported, citing a Biden aide and a federal health official.
Two people familiar with the conversation told the newspaper that an idea being considered would be to ask everyone to wear a mask when vaccinated and unvaccinated people mix in public places or indoors, such as in malls or movie theaters. .
But at Thursday’s White House coronavirus task force briefing, its chief Jeff Zintz declined to answer whether discussions about masking policy were underway in the Biden administration, saying only, “We are following the CDC on mask guidance.” will continue to do so.”
Meanwhile, CDC director Rochelle Valensky stressed at the briefing that its mask guidance should remain unchanged for now.
“As we have consistently said that the greatest risk right now is to people who are unvaccinated and we have said repeatedly and repeatedly, if you are unvaccinated, you need to protect yourself and those around you. We need to wear masks – and we need more people to get vaccinated to stop this pandemic,” Valensky clarified.
“So overall the CDC recommendations have not changed, fully vaccinated people are protected against serious disease, and we have always said that communities and individuals need to make the right decisions for them based on what is happening in their local areas. Is required. “
When asked about whether it was possible the public health agency could review its stance on masking, Valensky said the CDC would continue to monitor the data.
“We’re always looking at the data as the data coming in,” she said.
“If you have been vaccinated, you have exceptional levels of protection from that vaccine, and you can choose to add an extra layer of protection by putting on your mask – and that is a very personal choice. This is in line with our CDC guidance.”
White House officials have so far been reluctant to enforce any mandates that would explicitly require Americans to show proof of their vaccination status, a source told the outlet, who insisted that talks were preliminary. and may result in a new message.
Officials also said any new official guidance would have to come from the CDC, as the White House has liaised with the agency hand-in-hand to allow scientists to work without interference.
“At this time, we have no intention of changing our masking guidance,” said CDC spokesman Jason McDonald. told LOVEBYLIFE.
The discussions are taking place as the US is reporting more than 40,000 new coronavirus cases a day, down from nearly 11,000 cases a day last month, according to the Washington Post. The more contagious delta strain has been linked to buoyancy.
In addition, vaccination rates are slowing, according to the newspaper’s vaccine tracker, with about 500,000 people a day now getting the jab.
“At the White House, we follow the guidance and advice of health and medical experts,” White House Assistant Press Secretary Kevin Munoz told the newspaper.
“The public health guidance is by the CDC, and they continue to recommend that fully vaccinated individuals do not wear masks. If you have not been vaccinated, you should wear a mask,” he said.
The chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers, Marcus Plesia, spoke with the CDC and state officials this week, the newspaper reported.
“It’s fair to say that they are rethinking everything. I think everything is on the table,” he told the outlet, which includes revisiting the recommendations for wearing masks and social distancing.
With additional reporting by David Marcus