Tuesday's guidelines show how worried the Biden administration has become about the highly transmissible Delta virus infecting unvaccinated citizens across the country. The White House must now accept the new reality that masks are necessary for America to return to normal.
These mask recommendations are made at a time where there is a sharp increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations and cases in the South and Midwest. ICUs in Louisiana, Alabama, and Missouri are overcrowded with patients. Many of these patients are between 30 and 60 years old. According to the CDC and state public health officials, more than 95 percent are not vaccinated.
Leana Wen, a Georgetown University doctor, stated that the CDC was a great leader in the unanimous consensus of public health officials from across the country. I wish they had gone further to call for proof of vaccination, otherwise those who are not vaccinated will be punished.
For months, the Biden administration has been promoting a national vaccination campaign to encourage Americans to get their shot. The administration had trouble communicating with Americans living in rural areas and more conservative parts of the country about the vaccine.
According to a source familiar with the meeting, internal discussions about encouraging Americans to wear masks indoors reached a head Sunday when top officials from the White House & the CDC met to discuss data that supports new guidelines.
Officials reviewed new data regarding transmissibility of the Delta variant and determined that fully vaccinated individuals could have higher levels of Covid-19 than previously believed. This means that they may be able to transmit the virus to others.
One health official stated that only a small percentage of virus transmission is likely to be caused by fully vaccinated individuals. The data was sufficient to convince the CDC that it should increase its masking guidelines.
Two other people with knowledge of the agency's recommendations stated that they will recommend that indoors, KN95 masks be worn. KN95 masks are made in China and can provide similar protection as N95 masks used by health care professionals.
According to a senior official in the administration, the CDC will also encourage local officials to promote universal masking indoors for teachers, staff, and students, regardless of their current vaccination status.