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For the most up-to-date news and information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

In a dream that went viral in early 2020, the masking confusion started before any mission. In March 2020, while the novel coronavirus was beginning to develop in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the World Health Organization, issued guidance that healthy people should not wear masks because of limited supply – they should be saved for sick patients and caregivers in a strained healthcare system that lacks personal protective equipment.

On April 3, 2020, CDC flipped the script and released recommended nationwide that all Americans should wear cloth masks (emphasis on “fabric”, since PPE is still lacking). In the weeks and months that followed, states, cities, counties, and local businesses adopted reasoning backed by science that face coverings slow the spread of COVID-19 by containing respiratory droplets. As mask-wearing becomes the norm and surgical masks become widely available, the CDC has gone one step further and recommends “double mask. “

We have come a long way since March 2020, mainly thanks to three Vaccines against covid-19. But on Tuesday, the CDC removed guidance in May 2021 that vaccinated people do not need masks in most cases and recommended that fully vaccinated Americans should wear a mask at home if they live in an area with a high rate of COVID transmission.

Amidst the backsliding, there was debate about proof of vaccination, whether yes or no CDC Guidelines for Masks is valid and confused about local tasks. This is where we are.

Vaccination status and masks

According to the latest CDC guidance, fully vaccinated people live in areas of “substantial” transmission (50-100 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in the past seven days) or “high” transmission ( 100 or more cases of COVID-19 in the past seven days) should wear a mask indoors.

This means that businesses in communities where COVID-19 transmission is low (see CDC map here to find your county and its transmission rate) can continue to allow people to vaccinated, wear a mask. However, the CDC points out that you may still want to wear one, even if you don’t live in an area with high transmission, for example if you live with someone who is immunocompromised or at risk of contracting the disease. severe COVID-19 illness.

The latest CDC guidance is intended to protect people who are not protected by the COVID-19 vaccine, such as immunocompromised individuals and children under 12 years of age who cannot be vaccinated. The change in recommendations is based on research showing the dangers of delta variant and the findings showed that people with symptoms breakthrough COVID-19 infectionCDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said that, although rare, unvaccinated people can transmit the disease to others.

Another reason for the CDC’s latest mask recommendation could be to put pressure on parts of the country with low vaccination rates to get vaccinated. On Tuesday, Walensky said communities with low vaccination rates are experiencing significant spread of COVID-19 cases and are also seeing “severe outcomes.” In recent weeks, medical experts have said that about 99% of deaths due to COVID-19 now for the unvaccinated.

If you are not fully vaccinated (fully vaccinated means two weeks have passed since you received your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks have passed since you received one dose of Johnson & Johnson) you are not considered protected against COVID-19 and should still wear a mask in all public places, to protect yourself and others, according to CDC guidance. Scott Gottlieb, the head of the Food and Drug Administration in the Trump administration, told CBS recently that the delta variant is so contagious that most people will get COVID if they’re unvaccinated or infected. previously infected.


Masks and social distancing were our main arsenal of weapons against COVID-19 before a vaccine was available. Now, it’s hard to sort out conflicting advice about who should wear a mask and when.

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I have been vaccinated. Why am I still required to wear a mask in some places?

Everyone, regardless of whether they have been immunized or in what community they live, should wear a mask on public transport, on airplanes, in healthcare facilities and any business. Any local or private business that requires a mask.

The CDC guidance also does not overwhelm state, city, or county mask regulations, and some regions are restoring mask regulations due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. In light of the latest CDC recommendations, such as Los Angeles County, started asking for masks in the house again for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people following an increase in COVID-19 cases. Seven counties in the San Francisco Bay Area have gone off duty, but have recommended that everyone wear face masks indoors, following a surge in COVID-19 cases due to a potentially contagious delta variant. caused by high transmission.

Are masks effective against delta variation?

Delta is easier to transmit and potentially lead to more severe illness, meaning masks play an even more important role in slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Gottlieb told CBS: “The quality of the mask will make all the difference with a more contagious variant like delta, where people are more contagious and shed more virus.

“Trying to get N95 masks into the hands of vulnerable people in places where there is really an epidemic, I think it will be very important, even if they are vaccinated, if they want more,” Gottlieb said. Another layer of protection.

Which do I hear – WHO or CDC?

It’s a little easier now as both agencies seem to agree that requiring everyone to cover their faces is a step in the right direction while the delta variant emerges in the US. One previous source of mask confusion in the US was when World Health Organization officials said that vaccinated people should continue to exercise caution and wear masks. This is advice in contrast to the CDC, who initially returned the vaccinated people to daily life in May when it Remove mask recommendation for those who are fully vaccinated.

One important thing to keep in mind when weighing advice from the CDC versus advice from WHO is that the two agencies serve different populations. CDC is a federal agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and its mission is to guide medical practices in the United States. On the other hand, WHO is a United Nations agency serving various countries. When issuing guidance on COVID-19, CDC focused on the United States and WHO must consider the global.

For more WHO and CDC follow-up, check out CNET’s explainer.


HIPAA has been included in the mask debate because it protects people from questions about their health. But HIPAA works to protect patients’ health information from being shared by certain agencies or providers, such as doctors, and wouldn’t apply to a person asking another person why they wear it. or not wearing a mask.

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Is it legal to ask for masks or proof of vaccination?

There is nothing in the current CDC guidance regarding masks regarding proof of vaccination, and (apparently) most stores and businesses have adopted guidance based on the belief that people should wear masks. mask or not based on their individual immunization status. However, if a restaurant or business asks you to wear a mask and you refuse, they have the right to refuse to serve you, as long as they do so in a “non-discriminatory” way, KIRO 7 reports. . (Repeat “No shirt, no shoes, no service,” according to Healthline.)

However, there are different rules at play, and state rules take precedence over county rules. In states such as Texas, local governments are prohibited from enforcing mask regulations, it is entirely up to the employer or business.

Your employer can legally require you to wear a mask, according to guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a workplace civil rights law enforcement agency. In its March 2020 update, the EEOC said, “The ADA and the Rehabilitation Act do not stand in the way of employers following advice from the CDC and other public health agencies regarding the appropriate steps to take.” currently related to the workplace.”

Regarding proof of vaccination, the Biden administration says it won’t create a vaccine passport system for the US (but you may need one to travel). other countries). However, that has not yet dissipated the controversy surrounding mandatory vaccines or proof of vaccination. Many hospitals and some universities have begun requiring staff and students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. On Monday, a federal judge blocked a challenge to Indiana University’s vaccine requirements for students and staff, signaling that universities have the right to require vaccinations, unless otherwise indicated. “religious, medical, or moral exemption.”

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or health goals.


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