EXPLAINER: Why masks are again advised for everyone indoors
NEW YORK (AP) — Wait, we're supposed to wear masks again? Even if we are vaccinated?
For a large part of the U.S., that's the latest advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC this week revisited and revised its guidance for wearing masks indoors to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The change comes two months after the agency eased its mask advice, declaring that fully vaccinated people no longer had to cover up at indoor public places. Since then, the agency also said vaccinated adults and teens no longer needed to wear them at summer camps and schools.
A look at the latest developments:
CDC officials announced that people who are fully vaccinated should resume wearing masks indoors if they live in areas where the virus is surging — which is most of the country, or more than 60% of U.S. counties. Masks generally aren't needed outdoors.
The agency also said everyone — teachers and students — should go back to wearing masks in schools, whether the virus is surging in your community or not.
The CDC wasn't the first to call for the return of masks. In recent weeks, a number of cities and towns in hot spots have brought back indoor mask rules. The list includes municipalities ranging in size from Los Angeles to Provincetown, Massachusetts. More places, as well as businesses, took steps to join the list after Tuesday's CDC announcement, including Kansas City and the state of Nevada.
WHY THE CHANGE?
It's all because of the highly contagious delta version of the virus, the CDC said. That variant is driving surges of COVID-19 in much of the country and now accounts for more than 80% of infections. CDC officials said new information about its spread forced them to reverse course.
The vast majority of new infections in the U.S. continue to...