The largest US health agency on Friday radically revised its guidelines for wearing masks to reduce transmission of Covid-19, a decision that means most Americans will not be advised to wear them indoors, including school-age children.
“We are in a stronger place today as a country, and we have more tools to protect ourselves and our communities from Covid-19,” Rochelle Wallinsky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told reporters.
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The changes cover the metrics used to determine whether people should wear masks.
Under current guidelines, use is associated with infection rates, with 95% of the country considered a high-risk or high-risk area of transmission, and therefore covered by warnings for the use of masks.
The new metrics include hospital admissions for covid-19 and the ability of local hospitals to create a new scale known as the ‘community level for covid-19’.
Residents can check the CDC’s website to see if their area is green, yellow, or orange on a national map.
Now, more than 70% of residents live in areas without a recommendation to use masks under the new framework, including schools in green or yellow areas.
Calls to suspend the use of masks have multiplied in recent weeks, with growing concerns about their impact on children’s social, emotional and educational development.
Walnsky explained that the new guidelines are statistically strict but that they can be reviewed “if or when new variants emerge or if the virus evolves.”
The revised guidelines will not apply to the transmission system. The federal rule on what will be reviewed in this area will be reviewed in mid-March, when the current rule expires.
The United States is emerging from its latest wave of the Covid virus, caused by the omicron variant, which, although highly contagious, causes less severe cases among people who have been vaccinated or who have had previous infections.
About 65% of the US population is fully vaccinated, and the most effective masks, such as PFF2, which provide powerful protection for users, are now more available to populations who need them, such as those who are immunocompromised.
In recent weeks, the administration of President Joe Biden has intensified its talk of normalization as the pandemic moves into a new endemic phase.
Countries ruled by both Republicans and Democrats have taken the lead, either suspending their orders or setting an imminent timetable for doing so.
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