The CDC is expected to announce a reversal in their masking recommendations on Tuesday, instructing even vaccinated Americans to once again wear masks indoors, as the Delta variant continues to make its way through parts of the US.
The agency recommended just two months ago that those who had received two doses of vaccine would no longer require masks in indoor settings. The recommendation was a polarizing one, applauded by some experts for being sensible, with others criticize the move for being premature.
Dr. Celine Gounder of Bellevue Hospital in New York told The New York Times that the move was a welcome one, due to recent discoveries of the Delta variants ability to infect despite vaccinations.
The CDC said as recently as two weeks ago that they had no intentions of changing their guidelines, barring new scientific discovery.
Head director at the CDC Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at the time of the agency's first decision that the decision to give Americans the freedom to unmask was thanks in large part to the low transmission rates of immunized individuals. This, along with the vaccines' apparent effectiveness against variants.
The Delta variant, however, has changed that line of thought. Last week, President Joe Biden said that members of his COVID taskforce were considering new mask guidelines, due to surges in hospitalizations, mostly of unvaccinated peoples.