Health

CDC Relaxes Mask Guidance, Paving Way For End Of Mandates

(Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 mask guidance Friday to no longer recommend mask-wearing in most indoor settings.

Many state and local governments have deferred to CDC guidance when implementing mask mandates, meaning the change could lead to the end of the remaining mask mandates in some blue jurisdictions. The CDC has recommended indoor masking for Americans, regardless of vaccination status, since last summer after briefly relaxing guidance in the spring of 2021.

The new CDC guidance divides communities into high, medium and low risk categories based on COVID metrics like hospitalizations. People in communities that are deemed high risk are advised to wear a mask indoors, but those in low or medium risk areas are advised only to get vaccinated and get tested if sick.

In medium risk communities, vulnerable individuals are encouraged to seek the advice of their doctor on whether or not to wear a mask. Roughly 70% of American counties fall in the medium or low risk groups, meaning those residents aren’t advised to mask.

Children wear mouth masks on the playground of a primary school in Helecine, Monday 06 December 2021. (Photo by ERIC LALMAND/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Children wear mouth masks on the playground of a primary school in Helecine, Monday 06 December 2021. (Photo by ERIC LALMAND/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

While there are some states and cities with vaccine or mask mandates still in effect, many Democrat-led governments began dropping their mandates earlier in February, before the CDC gave the green light to do so. At the federal level, the Biden administration has maintained consistently that it will follow what the CDC advises, regardless of other considerations like the economy or social tradeoffs for groups like children.

One of the last places mask mandates are surviving is in schools, where children and staff are still being forced to mask in a number of places. (RELATED: One Key Fact Shows Democrats Aren’t ‘Following The Science’ When They Drop Mandates)

It is unclear when the Biden administration will drop mask mandates that are federally determined, such as mandates on airplanes or in federal buildings.