The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines Tuesday that recommend indoor-mask mandates even for fully vaccinated people in areas experiencing spikes in COVID-19 cases.
The agency said it also is now urging everyone in K-12 schools to wear a mask when they return to class, regardless of vaccination status.
“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 variants and protect others,” agency Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a press briefing.
“Children should return to full time in-person learning in the fall with proper prevention strategies,” Walensky added.
The new recommendations mark a change of course for the agency after it gave the green light in May for vaccinated people to ditch their masks in most settings.
It comes amid the spread of the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant, which has driven surges of the virus across the country and now comprises around 83 percent of cases nationwide, according to the CDC.