The White House and a top U.S. health agency are not saying whether they’re considering a change to masking guidance amid an increase in COVID-19 cases across the country.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director, twice declined to say whether the agency was mulling a change. As of now, the recommendations are the same, she told reporters in a virtual briefing on Thursday.
“We are always looking at the data as the data come in,” Walensky said.
Jeffrey Zients, the White House’s COVID-19 coordinator, also deflected a question on whether masking guidance will change, as did White House press secretary Jen Psaki in a separate press conference.
According to reports, top Biden administration officials have been mulling whether to recommend fully vaccinated Americans wear masks in additional settings as COVID-19 cases rise due to the Delta variant.
Pressed on whether discussions have been held, Psaki said the administration is “guided by the science” and “guided by our public health experts.”
“And any decision would come from the CDC,” she added.
“I’ve seen the reporting. But what I can tell you is that there has been no decision to change our mask guidelines,” she also said.
The CDC currently advises people who are vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, that they do not need to wear masks unless required by local laws.
“We want to be clear to the public: nobody is being advised who’s vaccinated to wear a mask,” Psaki said, adding, “It’s pretty clear now that if you’re vaccinated, you don’t need to wear a mask; if you’re not vaccinated, you should wear a mask.”
The CDC’s guidelines are largely advisory but have been widely adopted in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Walensky has repeatedly warned in recent appearances about the Delta virus variant, which represents over eight out of 10 sequenced cases.
“The Delta variant is spreading with incredible efficiency,” she said Thursday.
Daily new COVID-19 cases dropped as low as 4,063 in June but have hit above 50,000 on multiple days this month.