To Mask or Not to Mask? CDC Guidelines Change Again

Just a few months ago, many of us rejoiced as the CDC updated their recommendations on masking for vaccinated adults in the US. It was an exciting time and it gave a lot more people a more tangible incentive to get vaccinated than just the reduced risk of severe illness and death. And of course, who could forget the countless memes about what the CDC says. (My personal favorite is a tweet from Twitter user @fouryearbrett: “The CDC says they can drop off fully vaccinated people at the movies if their mom can pick everyone up but they’re not doing both.”)

Well, the CDC giveth and the CDC taketh away. 

As the Delta variant continues to spread like so much lox on an NYC bagel, the masks may be back on, whether you’ve been vaccinated or not. “But wait, if I’m fully vaccinated, I can’t get COVID, right?” Wrong. Your risk of catching it is way, way lower if you’re vaccinated and your risk of it being severe or causing death is even more significantly lowered by your vaccination, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get it at all. And if you can get it, you can probably spread it, too. Since the Delta variant has shown up to 1,000x the viral density as the original strain, it’s a safe bet that you can spread it far and wide, among your vaccinated and unvaccinated friends, family, and neighbors. At least, that’s what the CDC assumes and is trying to mitigate with their strong recommendation that folks put their masks on indoors.

The CDC, of course, does not actually have the ability to create mandates, but they can make these strong educated recommendations. It is up to the individual state and county governments to decide whether they will mandate masking again, if they ever did in the first place. If you want to know whether the CDC thinks you should be masking indoors regardless of vaccination status, check out the map here and see if your county falls into either the “substantial” or “high” transmission areas.

Will you be putting your mask back on indoors based on the recommendation or will you wait for a mandate? Did you ever stop masking? Do you think this is the right response to the current swell of cases? We want to know your thoughts on this!