The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to wear masks again, regardless of their vaccination status. A direct reversal from the previous guidance issued by the agency.
This comes after an increase of new COVID-19 cases in more than forty-one states over the past 30 days. As for North Carolina, officials reported a return to red status in several of the state’s 100 counties on Tuesday. Overall, a 10.5 percent positive test rate which is up from 1.9 percent on June 20.
“This is not a decision that we or CDC have made lightly,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky. The CDC’s director also noted that due to a high number of cases nationwide the agency is considering more steps to help curb the rate of infection.
“We can halt the chain of transmission,” she said. “We can do something if we unify together, if we get people vaccinated who are not yet vaccinated, if we mask in the interim, we can halt this in just a matter of a couple of weeks.”
The CDC recommendation comes as North Carolina struggles to maintain a low number of cases tied to the Delta variant originating from India. A jump of more than 250 percent in three weeks and now accounts for nearly 80 percent of all COVID cases statewide.
Gov. Roy Cooper acknowledged the CDC’s mask guidance and said the state will review the recommendations in light of new evidence about the Delta variant.
As of Wednesday (7/28), 2,633 new COVID-19 cases were reported in North Carolina, which is 828 more cases than this time last year. It also marked the highest daily total since Feb. 27.