According to new U.S. guidelines issued Friday, healthy adults, including students in schools, can safely stop wearing masks in their homes.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has outlined a new set of measures for communities where COVID-19 is losing its grip, with an emphasis on what is happening in hospitals rather than on positive test results.
Most of America is now located in counties where coronavirus poses only a moderate or medium risk to hospitals, thanks to a new system that substantially alters the CDC’s risk map. Only those people can go without wearing masks, according to the agency.
Wearing a face mask is still recommended for those who live in areas where the risk of COVID-19 is high. There is around 37 percent of US counties in which that is the case, and about 28 percent of Americans reside in them.
The need to wear a mask on public transportation and within airports, train stations, and bus stations will not be altered by the new suggestions. The CDC’s standards for other indoor settings aren’t mandatory, so municipalities and institutions, even those in low-risk areas, can impose their own regulations.
People with COVID-19 symptoms or who test positive, according to the EPA, should continue to use masks.
Because both vaccination and infection-based immunity are now providing greater protection, the CDC reports that the overall risk of serious illness has decreased.
Wearing a mask is an option for anyone who feels more comfortable doing so, says CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. It’s important that our hospitals are safe and that patients don’t come in with life-threatening conditions…
In order to make an informed decision, anyone can visit the CDC website and learn about the illness outbreaks in their area.”
The risk is low to medium in some states like Massachusetts and New Jersey, but it is high in others like West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, and Arizona where large areas are still a cause for concern.
It used to be that the CDC’s transmission-prevention advice to communities centered on two metrics: the number of new COVID-19 cases and the proportion of positive test findings during a previous week.
On the basis of these precautions, authorities from the agency advised residents of counties with a high or substantial risk of viral spread to stay home and wear masks. Over 95% of the nation’s 3,200 counties were classified as having substantial or high transmission as of this week, according to those criteria.
It’s becoming more and more common for states and municipalities around the United States to drop mask laws as the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to decline.
According to the University of California, Irvine public health professor Andrew Noymer, the CDC’s shift won’t make much of an impact for the time being because many Americans have already removed their masks.
However, when the next wave of illness threatens hospital capacity again — likely in the fall or winter — it will assist, he said.
“More COVID waves are on the way. We should give individuals a break from masking, says Noymer. “If we keep getting masked orders, they might be a joke by the time we need them again.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing a color-coded map with counties labeled as orange, yellow, or green. Local officials in green counties are free to relax whatever indoor masking regulations they want.
People who are at high risk of developing a serious illness should be aware of the color yellow. The CDC uses orange to indicate areas where masking should be used by everyone.
New criteria have been issued for masks.
The number of new COVID-19 hospital admissions, the percentage of staffed hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and the rate of new cases in the community will determine whether a county is classified green, yellow, or orange.
Some counties, such as Boulder County, Colorado, that were formerly considered high-risk have now been downgraded.
In the last few weeks, most of the United States has no longer required people to wear masks. As of Friday, those who have been vaccinated in Los Angeles, Washington and Oregon will be allowed to remove their face masks while indoors, and those states’ interior mask regulations will be repealed in late March.
New suggestions dubbed “Buck the CDC” were issued by Florida’s governor on Thursday that actively discourages people from using face masks.
For those afflicted with impaired immune systems, Keara Klinepeter, Pennsylvania’s acting health secretary, recommended “patience and grace.” Because she’s expecting a child, she plans to continue donning the mask.
According to Dr. Marcus Plescia of the Association of State and Territorial Health Authorities, state health officials are “happy with how this is being rolled out” and are generally satisfied with the new instructions.
It’s time to move in this direction. Plescia believes that the pandemic is moving in a new path as a result of this discovery. We are, however, focusing on safety. Preventing death and sickness remain our main priorities.”
It is recommended that municipalities that already have wastewater monitoring systems make use of the new system’s data in order to better anticipate future surges.
In the event that a new virus variation or virus surges, “we have more options than ever to safeguard ourselves and our community,” Walensky added.