Biden and CDC Reverse Course as US Faces Delta Variant
When the US health authorities announced in May that masks were no longer required for corona-vaccinated people, it was considered a milestone in the fight against the pandemic. However, the delta variant now forces the experts to reverse course.
In a U-turn due to the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, the US health authority CDC recommends wearing masks again in the future. In some parts of the country, where the virus is spreading particularly rapidly, people who have been completely vaccinated should also cover their mouths and noses in public spaces, including schools.
However, the CDC only makes recommendations. Ultimately, it is up to the US states to make their own decisions. The new assessment also included information that suggests a significant likelihood of the virus being passed on to vaccinated people.
US President Joe Biden called for the new guidelines to be observed. “More vaccinations and the wearing of masks in the areas hardest hit by the Delta variant will allow us to avoid the kind of lockdowns, closings, school closings and disruptions we faced in 2020.”
According to a media report, Biden also seeks to make vaccines mandatory for federal employees and government contractors.
Previously, the cities of Los Angeles and St. Louis had reintroduced the mask requirement indoors due to the number of new infections and increased hospital admissions. Currently, the US faces an average of more than 57,000 new corona cases and 24,000 hospital admissions every day.
Moreover, the number of new cases has recently risen particularly sharply in many southern US states such as Florida, Missouri, and Arkansas, as the vaccination rate remains particularly low in these areas. Just under 50 per cent of all Americans – 163 million people – are fully vaccinated – significantly less than the government had planned.
Unlike the number of new infections, the number of new deaths per day is still relatively low at just under 300. In December and January, that number was regularly over 3,000.
Image by Gage Skidmore (Flickr) / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)