© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People wait in a line that stretches around the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in the west end of Midtown Manhattan, to receive a vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the site that was converted into a mass vaccination center in New York
By Carl O’Donnell and Jeff Mason
(Reuters) – The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not revised its masking guidelines, even as the infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to sweep the United States, increasing the number of cases, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said at a Thursday call press conference.
Walensky declined to say whether the CDC plans to change the guidance. In May, the CDC relaxed its guidelines so that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks in most public spaces.
His comments come a day after US President Joe Biden said the CDC would likely advise unvaccinated children to wear masks to school as districts across the country prepare to reopen for the next school year.
The seven-day average of new cases in the United States is up 53% from the previous week, Walensky said. The Delta variant, which was first found in India, now accounts for over 80% of new cases nationwide and has been detected in more than 90 countries.
Some hospitals in the United States are reaching their capacity limits as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Walensky said on the call.
The increase in cases is concentrated in areas of the United States where vaccination rates are lower. Florida, Texas and Missouri account for 40% of all new cases nationwide, with about 1 in 5 of all new U.S. cases occurring in Florida, the White House’s COVID-19 task said for Director Jeffrey Zients.
Zients said the United States will continue to distribute tens of millions of COVID-19 vaccines around the world.
The White House announced in June its intention to distribute around 80 million COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
Leading US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said there was no reason for people who received the COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson (NYSE 🙂 to assume they should be given a dose. extra of Pfizer Inc (NYSE 🙂 or Modern (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc’s vaccines to protect against new variants.
The CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are reviewing the data to see if immunity wanes in those vaccinated to determine if additional booster shots are needed.
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