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CDC is recommending masks again because of breakthrough infections and the delta variant

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will likely recommend masks for fully vaccinated people

The headquarters for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
This March 6, 2020, file photo, shows the headquarters for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Ron Harris, Associated Press

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus wear masks indoors under certain situations, including when people are in hot spots for COVID-19.

  • The changes come two months after the CDC said fully vaccinated people could remove their masks indoors. More recently, there has been a rise in breakthrough infections of the delta variant in fully vaccinated people.
  • The CDC said that it’s changing its guidance because it observed data that showed fully vaccinated people had the same viral load of the coronavirus as unvaccinated people — meaning vaccinated people could be contagious with the virus and infect unvaccinated people.

What did the CDC change about face masks?

  • Per Axios, community leaders in hot spots should push for local mask mandates to fight off the coronavirus.
  • The CDC also calls for universal masking indoors for teachers, staff and schools, according to Axios.

Are breakthrough COVID-19 infections rare?

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that, overall, COVID-19 breakthrough infections — especially those that lead to COVID-19 symptoms — are rare for vaccinated Americans.

  • Specifically, symptomatic COVID-19 cases among fully vaccinated haven’t been happening at a huge rate. Per ABC News, the data show that 153,000 out of 156 million fully vaccinated people got symptomatic COVID-19 infections in the last week.

Will we see more breakthrough infections?

However, Dr. Taki May, Logan Regional Hospital medical director, told reporters that she expects to see more breakthrough infections, as the Deseret News reported.

  • “I think we are going to see the breakthrough rate increase, and that’s just because virus mutate. It’s part of what they are,” she said.

She said we hear about the breakthrough COVID-19 cases because they are rare.

  • “When you drive your car, you don’t think, ‘Oh, I could get in an accident today.’ We hear about accidents because they’re unusual. I think people need to change their mindset,” she said. “We hear about the scary stuff because it’s scary. We don’t hear about the mundane stuff, which is most people, successfully vaccinated, avoiding COVID.”