Is the CDC Loosening their Covid-19 Mask Guidance?
An update to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could update their guidance on masking as early as this week.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is taking another look at its priorities to keep people safe amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Last week, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky hinted that the agency could be reviewing and updating their mask guidance and shifting focus to hospitalizations as a result of Covid-19.
“We must consider hospital capacity as an additional important barometer,” Walensky said during a White House Covid-19 update. “We want to give people a break from things like mask-wearing when these metrics are better, and then have the ability to reach for them again should things worsen,” she said.
As the country moves towards a time when Covid-19 isn’t a crisis but rather a virus that we can protect against and treat, the agency is hoping to give Americans a break from their recommended guidance to were face coverings in indoor public spaces. Currently, the agency asks that all Americans, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask if they are in an area with a high viral transmission.
The move to loosen masking guidances comes as hospitalizations are down nearly 50 percent. Last week, the seven-day average from the Department of Health and Human Services showed that there were 85,000 patients in the hospital with Covid-19, down significantly from the 160,000 on Jan. 20.
“As we have fewer cases, people will become more comfortable with taking off their mask, but we will certainly want people to have the flexibility to wear one if they so choose,” Walensky said.
Those who have become infected with Covid-19 or suspect that they have come into contact with the virus should still plan on wearing their mask for 10 days following a negative test.