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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its mask-wearing guidelines for the general population today and recommended easing restrictions on indoor use based on local COVID-19 community exposure risk levels.
The recommendations direct counties to consider three measures to assess local exposure risk: 1) new COVID-related hospital admissions over the previous week; 2) percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients; and 3) new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over the previous week. Based on these metrics, about 70 percent of the country is currently at a low- or medium-risk level.
The new guidelines give people a framework for adapting to conditions, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky told reporters. “We want to give people a break from things like masking when our levels are low, and then have the ability to reach for them again should things get worse in the future,” she said. “We need to be prepared and ready for whatever comes next.”
The following recommendations apply:
The CDC recommends staying up to date on vaccines and wearing a mask that offers greater protection in certain situations, such as high personal health risk, when in close contact with people at higher risk for severe illness, when feeling ill or when caring for someone who has COVID.
A federal requirement to wear masks when taking public transportation, including air travel, has not been rescinded and is under review.
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