What It Means For New York After CDC Reverses Mask Guidelines
It appears all New Yorkers are a giant step closer to putting masks back on. The CDC says New York has "substantial" levels of COVID transmission.
On Tuesday, the CDC updated its mask guidance. The agency now recommends fully vaccinated New Yorkers start wearing masks indoors again in places where the transmission rate of COVID is high or substantial.
"This pandemic continues to pose a serious threat to the health of all Americans," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday. "Today, we have new science related to the delta variant that requires us to update the guidance regarding what you can do when you are fully vaccinated."
Most of the people being infected with the Delta variant are unvaccinated individuals but Walensky adds new data is showing vaccinated people with the delta variant could be "contagious and spread the virus to others."
The CDC believes all should wear masks indoors or at large gatherings in areas where the infection rate of COVID is considered "high" or "substantial."
"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," Walensky said.
The CDC deems the infection rate is "high" or "substantial" when there is 50 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period, or when the positivity rate is higher than five percent.
The CDC released a map of the United States with states broken down into "high," "substantial," "moderate," or "low" levels of community transmission.
New York State is listed as having "substantial" transmission, meaning the CDC recommends New Yorkers were masks again. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York State health officials are reviewing the data and latest CDC guidance.
"New Yorkers beat back COVID before -- going from the highest positivity rate on the globe to one of the lowest -- by staying smart, following the science, and having each other's backs, and that's exactly what we'll keep doing in this next phase of the pandemic. We are reviewing the CDC's new recommendations closely in consultation with federal and state health experts," Cuomo stated.
The CDC also released a map broken down by county in New York. In the Hudson Valley, Greene County is listed as "substantial" while the rest of the region is "moderate." New York City and Long Island appear to have "substantial" transmission, according to the CDC.
The CDC is also recommending all school children wear masks in the classroom this fall.
"This includes schools, including teachers, staff, students and visitors, regardless of vaccination status," Walensky added.
President Biden says the latest CDC mask guidance moves the nation another step closer to finally defeating coronavirus but notes it's a sign "we still need to do better" to get more to roll up their sleeves.