Healthcare

CDC to ease COVID guidelines: report

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to ease its guidelines on masking in an announcement on Friday after a number of states this month have announced plans to lift indoor mask mandates, The Associated Press reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

In the CDC’s announcement on Friday, the agency will discuss how it will be incorporating more factors into the metrics it uses to determine whether to recommend masking. Instead of focusing only on COVID-19 case numbers, the agency will also factor in local hospital capacity and hospitalizations, the AP reported.

Based on current data, a majority of Americans will no longer be recommended to wear masks inside in public spaces under the new guidance, the news wire noted. 

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky had signaled last week during a White House briefing that the agency was planning on updating some of its guidance, including on masking.

“We recognize the importance of not just cases … but critically, medically severe disease that leads to hospitalizations. We must consider hospital capacity as an additional important barometer,” Walensky said at the time.

“We want to give people a break from things like mask-wearing when these metrics are better, and then have the ability to reach for them again should things worsen,” the CDC director added.

State and local officials, meanwhile, have been taking matters into their own hands and announcing plans to lift indoor mask mandates, with some leaving requirements in place in schools or for unvaccinated people.

“COVID is not as deadly as it was,” Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said earlier this month, announcing that the city would lift its mask mandate and end its requirement for people entering businesses to show proof of vaccination.

“Getting vaccinated and boosted, we can’t emphasize enough,” Bowser added.

The Hill has reached out to the CDC for comment.

Updated at 7:29 p.m.

Tags CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID COVID-19 covid-19 restrictions Masking Muriel Bowser Rochelle Walensky Vaccine
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