Mask requirements are returning to the United States in some communities and workplaces, along with directives on mandatory coronavirus vaccinations, in a new effort to limit the highly contagious delta variant of the disease. The infection has killed more than 611,000 Americans.
Over the Independence Day holiday earlier this month, US President Joe Biden heralded the strides the country has made in fighting the coronavirus. But now, he said he is seriously considering requiring more than 2.1 million federal workers to be vaccinated and that he will comply with mask regulations when visiting parts of the country where the virus has spread. growing.
The US government says it is now recording more than 60,000 new coronavirus cases per day, up from less than 12,000 cases per day at the end of June.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives, has reset the requirement for masks in the room.
The western state of Nevada, home to the popular gambling mecca Las Vegas, is setting mask rules for indoor gatherings, as is the Midwestern city of Kansas City, Missouri. One major newspaper, The Washington Post, said it would require all of its journalists to be vaccinated before returning to the office in mid-September.
The requirements follow new guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said on Tuesday that new data shows that even vaccinated people can transmit the virus if they are infected. infected. The CDC says masks should be worn inside public places in communities that have seen a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. COVID-19 is a disease caused by coronavirus.
“I know this is not the message America wants to hear,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told CNN Wednesday. “With the previous variants, when people had these rare breakthrough infections, we didn’t see their ability to spread the virus to others, but with the delta variant, we now see that now you can actually pass the virus on to other people.”
She stressed that vaccines against the coronavirus are preventing higher levels of hospitalizations and deaths. But millions of Americans still doubt vaccines and refuse to get them, or say they are incapable of doing so.
Walensky said unvaccinated people account for “the vast majority” of new infections. Two-thirds of the vaccine-eligible population ages 12 and older in the United States have received at least one dose. However, the government says less than half of the US population of more than 328 million has been fully immunized.
Walensky said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” “We can do something if we come together, if we put the unvaccinated people in the vaccine. If we temporarily hide, we can prevent this in just a few weeks. “
With new federal guidance, many state and city governments across the US are revisiting or canceling their previous relaxation of mask rules.
The CDC also urged school systems across the country to require face coverings for students, teachers, and visitors as they begin the new school year in August and September. But some southern states have already passed. The law bans face masks in schools, making it unclear how they might react to the new CDC guidance.
Some of the information in this report comes from the Associated Press.