Should you wear mask for delta variant? CDC defers to local officials

CDC not changing masking guidelines for delta COVID variant

FILE - In this May 19, 2021 file photo, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky testifies during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing to examine the FY 2022 budget request for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Washington. Walensky said Wednesday, June 30 the CDC is leaving it up to local officials to set guidelines for mask-wearing as the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus surges in areas with low vaccination rates. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP, File)
FILE - In this May 19, 2021 file photo, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky testifies during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing to examine the FY 2022 budget request for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Washington. Walensky said Wednesday, June 30 the CDC is leaving it up to local officials to set guidelines for mask-wearing as the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus surges in areas with low vaccination rates. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP, File) (The Hill)

Should we be wearing masks in indoor places to protect from the highly-contagious delta variant of COVID-19? The CDC is staying out of it.

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization urged people, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in indoor areas, as the delta variant spreads rapidly across the world. Health officials in Los Angeles County are strongly recommending the same to residents.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the CDC is leaving it up to local officials to set guidelines for mask-wearing as the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus surges in areas with low vaccination rates.

Walensky said Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show that “we’ve always said that local policymakers need to make policies for their local environment,” but added CDC guidelines broadly indicate those who are vaccinated don’t need to wear masks.

Related: Study suggests mRNA vaccines induce long-lasting COVID immunity

Walensky told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday the “context in which the WHO is making recommendations is very different than us here in the United States” since less than 15% of the world is vaccinated.

As for the recommendation by officials in Los Angeles County, Walensky said “we are still seeing an uptick in cases in areas of low vaccination and in that situation, we are suggesting that policies be made at the local level.”

Michigan lifted all capacity limits and masking requirements on June 22. About 61.7% of residents 16 and older have at least one vaccine dose, as of June 29.

Related: MDHHS issues 12 COVID safety suggestions for Michigan schools during in-person learning


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Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.