Just when you thought it was safe to get rid of those masks, it might be time to consider wearing them again. The CDC announced today that they’ve changed their recommendations on mask wearing. The big key takeaway is that even if you are vaccinated, the CDC is now recommending masks for individuals if you are in an area of “high” or “substantial” transmission, which is currently a lot of counties in New Jersey.
While the CDC said earlier in the spring that vaccinated individuals did not need to wear masks indoors, the strong Delta variant has caused them to change their position, stating that wearing a mask indoors in high risk areas will maximize personal protection from the Delta variant and prevent possible spread to other individuals.
Currently in New Jersey, Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Essex, Middlesex, Ocean, and Union counties all have “substantial” transmission, while Monmouth County is considered a “high” transmission area according to CDC data. This means that while it is not state mandated (yet, at least), it is strongly recommended for individuals with or without vaccinations to wear a mask if they are indoors in those counties. The previous recommendation for unvaccinated individuals at any public indoor setting has not changed.
Even if you are in a low risk area, if you have an underlying medical condition, or a weakened immune system or live with someone that has these conditions, you may want to wear a mask indoors.
Additionally, the CDC is now recommending that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in schools when they return for the fall.
Per the CDC: Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.