As COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates skyrocket across the nation - the federal agency’s guidance is again changing, just weeks before school starts in most places (recognizing it has already started in some areas).
Officials blame the continued need for masks on the more transmissible Delta variant, vaccine hesitancy, and the inability of many students to get a vaccine. Children under 12 years-old are not yet eligible for vaccination against the virus. According to the CDC, only 30 percent of children ages 12-17 are fully vaccinated in the United States.
When making the announcement, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said children should return to school for in-person instruction this Fall, so long as protective measures are in place. She added, "in areas with substantial and high transmission, CDC recommends fully-vaccinated people wear masks in public indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and protect others. This includes schools." She also cited growing concerns over cases of vaccinated individuals getting infected and potentially spreading the virus.
The change in the federal guidance more closely aligns with that of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recently took a stronger stance compared to prior CDC guidance on masking for children indoors.
The new guidance will be met with mixed responses as some states have banned masks in schools while others (like California) are requiring them.
Earlier this week, the Newsom Administration required all state employees show proof of vaccination, or submit to weekly Covid-19 testing.
Yolo County announced today that it was following Los Angeles County in returning to mandating indoor masking in public spaces like grocery stores, regardless of vaccination status.
Other reports out today indicate the Biden Administration is actively considering a requirement that all federal employees receive a vaccine.
The increasing impact of the Delta variant could further complicate the September 14th recall election for Governor Newsom. Several recent public opinion polls show Newsom's support slipping with Democrats as the Delta variant rapidly spreads and schools begin the 2021-22 school year with a mask mandate.
Unfortunately, with the Delta variant infecting more people, it very much feels like the ground may be shifting under our feet... again.
Partner | Capitol Advisors Group