02/25/22 By Mallory Shofi
With the lowered transmissions and cases in COVID-19, the Biden administration will significantly loosen federal mask-wearing guidelines. This means that the majority of Americans will no longer have to wear masks in indoor and public areas.
On Friday, the CDC announced the updated guidelines concerning face coverings, overall health, and the shifting COVID-19 case numbers. Previous guidelines stated that masks are recommended for communities of possible high transmission rates—reaching about 95% of states.
New guidelines will consider hospitalization rates, degree of COVID spreading, school systems, and what strains exist in certain areas. There is a strain that is highly transmissible, but scientists believe it is not as deadly as other strains, and Americans who are vaccinated have a lower risk for long-term effects. The administration has recently shifted its focus from death to long-term effects, and the new policy comes at a time when a new outlook on solutions is being
considered. There is no clear idea of what the future will look like based on these changes by the CDC, and different areas will vary with their response to the recommendation. Some school systems have implemented the mandates, and others haven’t.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director said a change was coming during a briefing in the White House last week.
“We must consider hospital capacity as an additional important barometer. Our hospitals need to be able to take care of people with heart attacks and strokes. Our emergency departments can’t be so overwhelmed that patients with emergent issues have to wait in line,” she said.
Walensky has refrained from providing a specific date where the CDC will implement the changes, but officials suggest it would be during the weekend.