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In a complete turn due to the highly contagious delta variant, the US health authority CDC recommends wearing masks again in the future. In some parts of the country, where the virus is spreading particularly aggressively, fully vaccinated people should cover their mouths and noses in public, the agency announced Tuesday. This also applies to schools.

US President Joe Biden has called for adherence to the new guidelines. “More vaccinations and wearing masks in the areas most affected by the delta variant will enable us to avoid the kind of lockdowns, closures, school closures, and disruptions that we faced in 2020.” The United States will not return to these measures.

In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no longer considers wearing a mask indoors for a fully vaccinated person a requirement for the vast majority of situations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only makes recommendations. In the end, US states make their own decisions.

The new assessment also contributed information indicating a high probability of transmission of the virus to vaccinated people. CDC Director Rochelle Walinsky emphasized, however, “We believe that the vast majority of transmission occurs in unvaccinated people and by unvaccinated people (…)”.

The number of new cases has risen sharply recently, particularly in many southern states such as Florida, Missouri or Arkansas. The vaccination rate is particularly low there. Just under 50 percent of all Americans – 163 million people – have been fully vaccinated. This is far below what the government has targeted at this point in time. In contrast to the number of new infections, the number of new deaths per day remains relatively low at less than 300 cases. In December and January this number was regularly over 3000.

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