CDC Now Says Everyone Should Mask Up At School, Even If Fully Vaccinated

There’s new guidance on masking to reduce the spread of the coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made a big change to masking guidelines Tuesday: Everyone in areas of substantial/high transmission should wear a mask, even if vaccinated. The CDC’s COVID Data Tracker can show you areas around the country that have substantial or high COVID-19 transmission.

You’ll remember New Jersey lifted its indoor mask mandate in late May, after the CDC announced in mid May that fully vaccinated people could ditch the mask.

That was then. On Tuesday, the CDC changed its recommendation and is now urging vaccinated people in areas of the country where COVID-19 cases are surging to resume wearing masks in public indoor spaces.

The CDC is also recommending that everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask, vaccinated or not, as part of their new masking guidelines.

The Delta variant has been fueling new cases as it became the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the U.S., creating what’s been called “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” New data show Delta much more contagious than previous versions of COVID-19. There have also been increasing reports of breakthrough cases, where fully vaccinated individuals test positive for COVID-19 and report mild symptoms.

“The Delta variant is showing its willingness to outsmart us,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the C.D.C., said at a news briefing Tuesday. “In rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with a Delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others.”

More than 188.7 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC. Of those, 163.2 million are fully vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, especially severe illness and death.

As of Monday, 5,240,590 individuals who live, work, or study in New Jersey are fully vaccinated.

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