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Mask Proponents Are Not Happy With the CDC's Updated Guidance

AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly updated its masking guidelines in healthcare settings where community transmission levels of COVID-19 are not high.


“Healthcare facilities could choose not to require” masking, reads the website, which was updated Friday evening. 

Still, masking is recommended for individuals in healthcare settings who have or are suspected to have COVID-19, had close contact with someone who had a positive case of COVID-19, or work in a unit experiencing an outbreak. 

The new guidelines turn away from a universal recommendation that everyone wear "source control," such as respirators or tightly-fitted masks, in healthcare settings. 

"Updates were made to reflect the high levels of vaccine-and infection-induced immunity and the availability of effective treatments and prevention tools," the website reads. "This guidance provides a framework for facilities to implement select infection prevention and control practices (e.g., universal source control) based on their individual circumstances (e.g., levels of community transmission)."

The CDC's guidance for the general public now relies on its "Community Levels" ratings rolled out earlier this year, which factor in levels of hospitalization to come up with weekly ratings. Just 3.5% of Americans now live in counties at "high" "Community Levels," the CDC says.

In healthcare settings, the CDC says it will still rely on its original "Community Transmission" benchmarks. By this measure of reported cases and test positivity, 73% of counties are currently rated at "high" risk. (CBS)


Mask proponents expressed their disappointment with the CDC’s updated guidelines. 

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