Story at a glance

  • CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is expected to advise vaccinated people to wear masks in some indoor spaces as the delta variant circulates.
  • The recent outbreaks of COVID-19 are localized mostly among unvaccinated communities.

In the latest update to COVID-19 public health guidance, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are poised to recommend that vaccinated people resume wearing masks in public spaces in select areas in the country.

CNN first reported the news, citing sources who said that officials met Sunday evening to discuss new clinical evidence surrounding virus transmissibility and breakthrough infections. 

This latest chapter of the COVID-19 pandemic and the CDC’s response comes as outbreaks fueled by the delta variant drive new infections, hospitalizations and deaths up after several months of declines. Numerous reports of breakthrough infections have accompanied these latest outbreaks as well. 

Breakthrough cases are to be expected with any vaccine and any virus, but they pose a problem with reopening and emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as new variants circulate. 

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is expected to issue a statement on Tuesday at 3 p.m. EST.

As of June 29, the CDC formally advises that those who are not fully vaccinated should wear masks indoors. They also note that generally, people do not need to wear masks outside.

The recent hospitalizations of people — both vaccinated and unvaccinated — have prompted federal officials to rethink this guidance.

Recent COVID-19 outbreaks are occurring primarily in southern states like Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and parts of Florida and proliferate through communities of unvaccinated individuals. 

This has culminated in a 144 percent increase in new infections over the past two weeks, a 72 percent increase in hospitalizations and 7 percent increase in deaths.

Published on Jul 27, 2021