The CDC is anticipated to issue guidance Tuesday recommending that everyone in K-12 schools — including students, teachers, and staff — wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. The current CDC guidance suggests that all people age 2 and older who are not fully vaccinated wear masks at school.
A preview of the guidance obtained by Bloomberg said that children should resume in-person, full-time instruction in the fall semester with precautionary measures. CNN first reported the update, which CDC director Rochelle Walensky is expected to officially announce at a press conference Tuesday.
The prevailing science indicates that children are a low-risk demographic for developing severe COVID cases and therefore do not spread the disease, making schools one of the least likely sources of infection for a local community.
The CDC is also expected to advise that some Americans already vaccinated against COVID continue to wear face coverings indoors, a directive presumably motivated by the rising caseloads attributable to the spread of the delta variant. The surge in cases has been attributed largely to unvaccinated Americans, and the CDC reported that the delta variant accounts for 83% of all sequenced Covid-19 cases in the U.S.
The vaccines have proven to decouple COVID cases from COVID deaths. So although some people may contract a breakthrough infection and test positive for the virus after getting vaccinated, they are unlikely to have a breakthrough disease, or experience significant illness that may require hospitalization.
However, evidence is mounting that vaccinated people may still be able to transmit the virus despite mild symptoms, indicated by the similarity of virus concentration in breakthrough cases in both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals who become infected, an administrative health official told CNN.
Many states and localities relaxed their mask mandates amid mass vaccine distribution and lower transmission rates in recent months. Highly-populated areas like Los Angeles county recently reinstated its mask requirement for public indoor places.
Walensky’s comments Tuesday would represent a reversal from the CDC’s May announcement that fully vaccinated individuals could forgo a mask in most indoor social settings and venues.
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