The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance on coronavirus with the recommendation that all people wear masks in closed areas and other high-risk areas for contagion, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.
Previously, the CDC had said that those who were fully vaccinated could avoid the mask indoors. This Friday the reason for this change of position is known.
And it is that new scientific information indicates that the delta variant, unlike other variants of the SARS-Cov-2 virus, can also be transmitted by vaccinated people.
“The mask recommendation was updated to prevent those in the public who are vaccinated from unknowingly transmitting the virus to others, including loved ones who are not vaccinated or immunocompromised, ” the CDC said Friday.
Speaking to CNN, the director of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky, said that it is “one of the most transmissible viruses that we know: measles, chicken pox, this one; they are all at the same level ”.
On average, an infected person, vaccinated or not, with symptoms or not, can infect eight or nine other people (the original variant, more similar to a common cold, could be transmitted to two people).
In response to an email from the New York Times, the CDC director said it is not yet clear how common infections are in vaccinated people and how long the virus remains in the body in those cases.
An outbreak in the state of Massachusetts among vaccinated and unvaccinated people after the July 4 holiday was instrumental in arriving at these new recommendations.
The CDC has emphasized that the best defense against the delta variant remains vaccination.
In the United States, almost 62,000 new infections are registered per day, despite the fact that – at the national level – 49.8% of the population is fully vaccinated.
However, the vast majority of people hospitalized or who have died had not been vaccinated.
“The mask is a defense against the spread of covid-19 but make no mistake, vaccines are the best defense to avoid a severe disease; really the best defense, ”US President Joe Biden said Thursday.
Biden spoke of the new cases of contagion as the “pandemic of the unvaccinated” and called on states and local governments to offer US $ 100 to the newly vaccinated.
The use of masks is a contentious issue in the United States and has been politicized since the pandemic began.
US citizens interviewed by the BBC expressed their concerns at this new information.
“It feels like we’re going back to the beginning; I don’t want to wear a mask indoors, but the delta variant is undoubtedly a concern, “said Agustín Cortéz from Texas.
For Angelica Mata, from California, the CDC’s decision that fully vaccinated people could not wear a mask was wrong: “It gave people the impression that the pandemic had come to an end and it is not, now this recommendation from using it again is not a surprise ”.
For his part, Jason Munshi-South of Connecticut said the new recommendations are not very helpful.
“There is not much to be gained by telling fully vaccinated people to wear masks, since people who did not want to be vaccinated are not going to use them.”