Story at a glance

  • Nearly 70 percent of U.S. counties have high levels of virus transmission that warrant mask usage.
  • All 50 states are recording upticks in infections due to the delta variant.

Following the bombshell announcement recommending vaccinated people wear masks in public spaces in regions with high COVID-19 transmission rates, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) followed up by adding Wednesday that nearly 70 percent of all U.S. counties are currently experiencing serious COVID-19 transmission rates.

Reuters reports that CDC leaders said given the high prevalence of serious transmission rates, all of these jurisdictions should resume the policy for all people to wear masks in select public indoor locations.

The CDC said nearly 67 percent of counties in the country have transmission rates high enough to warrant indoor masking and areas should reinstate the policy. The transmission rate is up from 63.4 percent, according to Reuters. More recent data suggests this number spiked slightly to 69.28 percent as of Thursday, combining data for counties with both “high” and “substantial” levels of COVID-19 transmission. 

This represents 2,231 U.S. counties overall.

Renewed transmission rates are largely due to the spread of the delta variant among states like Missouri, Arkansas, Florida, and Louisiana. These states also have lower vaccination rates, enabling the surge of the virus.

On a media call earlier this week, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky confirmed that the delta variant is the majority strain in the U.S.

She also confirmed via Twitter that new COVID-19 cases have increased nationally by more than 300 percent since June 19. 

“The highest spread of cases & severe outcomes is happening in places w/ low vaccination rates & among unvaccinated people. Protect yourself, your family, & your community. Get vaccinated,” she wrote.

Published on Jul 29, 2021