As the delta strain sweeps across the country, senior Biden health officials and some White House officials have begun discussions about revising mask guidance for vaccinated Americans.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided earlier this year to scrap the mandatory mask requirement for vaccine recipients.
Sources say the White House’s and CDC’s rhetoric on masking is being reassessed. The White House has consistently indicated that the CDC is responsible for changing official guidelines.
Any official or unofficial revisions to mask regulations would be a psychological blow to a country already in its second year of pandemic-related restrictions, officials believe.
On the Rose Garden steps in May, President Joe Biden declared it a “good day in America,” but recent measures to conceal the country’s not-so-great status would indeed reveal the country’s not-so-great situation.
However, with the delta strain accounting for more than 80% of cases in the US, officials have debated whether vaccinated individuals should resume indoor mask use.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advised everyone over two to wear masks before returning to school this week. In addition, the administration is exploring recommendations that Americans follow local norms when it comes to wearing a mask indoors or at school for children.
The Washington Post first broke the news regarding the renewed mask talks.
According to one official, any amended instructions must come directly from the CDC, which was not the case under the previous administration.
According to one source, the health department is rethinking its policy on mask orders.
A third person familiar with the ongoing conversations said they are not yet ready to decide on masks but are considering the best course of action.
No plans to change masking instructions, CDC spokeswoman Jason McDonald Says.
According to another source in communication with the White House, White House officials were unenthusiastic about any form of government mask mandate, signaling a reluctance to wade into what has now become a political hotspot.
Doctor Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s principal medical adviser and the nation’s foremost infectious disease specialist, said he believed the AAP suggestion was issued as a “precautionary measure,” adding that the CDC was “hoping for some concordance.”
According to many state sources, the White House continues to hold discussions with governors led by Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.
According to insiders, the seminars are instructive and data-driven rather than advice or guidance.
CNN questioned state and local health experts who had mixed opinions about the federal government issuing more laws or recommendations. One Republican state official noted that their state was unlikely to implement additional concealing instructions despite an increase in cases.
The CDC has also kept in touch with state officials about prospective mask orders and other mitigation measures.
“The CDC has spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do next and whether or not they need to reassess things,” said Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer of the Association of State & Territorial Health Officials. “They’re struggling with it.”
As the number of cases rises, some local health authorities are hoping for updated federal guidance.
“We see some hesitation on the part of local health departments to move ahead with the CDC guidance, but they may have to,” Lori Freeman, chief executive officer of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, said.
Because of the politics of public orders, making those decisions community by community might be troublesome.