CDC recommends even vaccinated people wear masks indoors where transmission is high

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If you have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now encouraging you to mask up indoors.

It’s a reversal on a previous recommendation from the health agency.

Cases across the country are surging because of the Delta variant, and we are beginning to see breakthrough cases.

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To limit the spread, the CDC asks people to mask up inside crowded places regardless of vaccination status.

“We know the vaccine does a good job preventing severe illness that will put someone in the hospital, but we know it doesn’t do as well preventing mild illness,” said Dr. Nick Hysmith, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

As COVID cases continue to trend upward fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reversing its stance on masks.

“That’s what we have sort of expected over the last several weeks as we’ve seen the numbers of the Delta variant increase,” said Hysmith.

The CDC is calling on people to mask up indoors regardless of vaccination status if they live in an area with substantial or high COVID-19 transmission rates.

That includes all of the Mid-South.

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“I think it’s a good idea with the Delta variant rising for us to go back to masks in crowded areas and inside in these areas of the country that have high transmission of the variant,” said Hysmith.

In Shelby County, the 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases is up to 258, a level we haven’t seen since early February.

Health experts say about 80% of the cases now are the Delta variant.

“Across the country, I know less than 1% individuals in hospitalized ICU are vaccinated,” said Hysmith.

Health experts said you may ask why get vaccinated if you may still contract COVID? They said it’s so you do not suffer severe illness and end up in the hospital, or worse wind up dead.