The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reportedly set to backpedal Tuesday on its current masking guidelines and recommend that even vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas of the United States in which the COVID-19 pandemic is surging, according to report from the Associated Press.
A federal official speaking on the condition of anonymity spoke to the news outlet for its report.
The CDC is scheduled to hold a briefing at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday, CNN reported.
What's a brief history?
In May, the CDC said that fully vaccinated Americans could stop wearing masks altogether while outside and in the vast majority of indoor settings and added that the 6-foot social distancing guideline is no longer necessary for vaccinated Americans.
In the announcement, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing. If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy."
"Based on the continuing downward trajectory of cases, the scientific data on the performance of our vaccines, and our understanding of how the virus spreads, that moment has come for those who are fully vaccinated," Walensky said.
“This is an exciting and powerful moment, it could only happen because of the work of so many who made sure we have the rapid administration of three safe and effective vaccines," she added.
What are the details?
CNBC reported Tuesday that the CDC is "expected to recommend that fully vaccinated people begin wearing masks indoors again in places with high COVID-19 transmission rates."
"The updated guidance comes ahead of the fall, when the Delta variant is expected to cause another surge in new coronavirus cases and many large employers plan to bring workers back to the office," the outlet added.
CNN on Tuesday reported that a senior administration official said the decision was "spurred by the more transmissible Delta variant."
"It's based on the fact that the Delta variant is clearly more transmissible than the prior ones," the official told the outlet.
It seems fair to point out that CDC guidance is only a recommendation.
On Sunday, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the COVID-19 situation was "going in the wrong direction."
"It's a dynamic situation," he said. "It's a work in progress, it evolves like in so many other areas of the pandemic. You've got to look at the data."
The outlet noted that some regions across the country — including areas in California and Nevada — are advising all residents, even those who are fully vaccinated, to wear masks while indoors.
Citing CDC data, CNN reported that approximately two-thirds of counties across the U.S. have "high or substantial transmission" of COVID-19. According to the data, 46% of U.S. counties have "high transmission," and 17% have "substantial transmission."
CNN's Brian Stelter on Tuesday tweeted, "Some folks on this site are overstating what the CDC intends to say today. Here is CNN's reporting: 'People in areas with high or substantial COVID-19 transmission should resume wearing masks, the CDC is expected to say.' Places with higher vax % tend to have lower transmission."