More than 70 percent of the population can avoid wearing a mask indoors in the United States. This is according to the new assessment method of the U.S. health authority CDC.The CDC's new Corona guidelines take into account the number of new Corona patients in hospitals and capacity in clinics, in addition to infection rates.
Wearing a protective mask indoors will henceforth be recommended in the U.S. only in regions with a high risk of corona. Here, people, especially school children, should continue to wear masks. The CDC has published a new tool online for this purpose. Via the website, citizens can decide which measures to take, depending on their community. In public transport, on the other hand, masks are still compulsory as a matter of principle.
"We are in a stronger position today as a nation, with more tools to protect ourselves and our communities from Covid-19," said CDC Chief Rochelle Walensky. "The overall risk of serious illness is lower." The focus now, she said, is mainly on protecting people at particular risk and keeping hospitals from being overwhelmed.
The CDC had previously based its recommendation to wear protective masks indoors, such as in schools, stores and supermarkets, on infection rates in individual counties. In areas with "significant and high rates of transmission," wearing a mouth and nose guard was strongly advised for both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated. This has been true for almost the entire country.
Previously, the metropolis of New York had announced on Friday that children in public schools would no longer have to wear masks outside, for example in the playground, as of Monday.
In the U.S., the number of corona infections has recently declined sharply after a massive increase in December and January as a result of the spread of the omicron variant. Many citizens are yearning for a return to normalcy. The new CDC guidelines on wearing protective masks reflect a willingness to accept coronavirus as part of everyday life. In Germany, the incidence drops to 1253.3 More in the news ticker.
In any case, the CDC guidelines are only non-binding recommendations. Most recently, a number of states with governors from President Joe Biden's Democratic Party had already abolished the mandatory mask requirement indoors or given an imminent date for its end - contrary to previous CDC guidelines.
Conservative-ruled states have not had mandatory masks for a long time. Some states, such as Florida and Texas, have even made it illegal to require the wearing of a protective mask. The issue of mandatory masks is highly politically charged in the United States. Conservative politicians reject such a requirement as an attack on individual liberties.
The CDC had already relaxed its recommendations on wearing protective masks in May 2021 amid plummeting infection rates and rapid progress in the vaccination campaign. Then the country was overtaken by the highly contagious delta variant this summer, and the CDC did an about-face.In the U.S., nearly 950,000 people have already died as a result of Corona infection since the pandemic began - by far the highest number in the world. There are still more than 1,500 Corona deaths every day.
Photo by Mika Baumeister