ATLANTA, Georgia – Masking rules stateside might be changing yet again, as U.S. Centers for Disease Control is expected to walk back recommendations made earlier this year.
The CDC was expected to backpedal Tuesday and recommend that even vaccinated people wear masks indoors in parts of that country where COVID-19 cases are rising.
A federal official spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss details of the new policy.
For much of the pandemic, the agency advised Americans to wear masks outdoors if they were within six feet of one another.
The health organization eased its guidelines on the wearing of masks outdoors in April as vaccination rates skyrocketed, saying that fully vaccinated Americans no longer needed to cover their faces unless they were in a big crowd of strangers.
Guidance was eased further for fully vaccinated people the following month allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.
The guidance still called for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings, like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters, but it cleared the way for reopening workplaces and other venues.
Fully vaccinated people were also told they no longer needed to mask up at summer camps or at schools.
For months it seemed liked COVID-19 was being brought under control as cases, hospitalizations, and deathers dropped steadily, but those trends began to change at the beginning of the summer.
The delta variant began to spread widely, especially in areas with lower vaccination rates.
In recent weeks, a growing number of cities and towns have restored indoor masking rules. St. Louis, Savannah, Georgia, and Provincetown, Massachusetts, are among the places that reimposed mask mandates this month.