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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidelines on Friday, using thee separate levels to communicate COVID-19 risks at the local level.
As relayed by the Wall Street Journal, the CDC will now identify COVID risk as either low, medium or high for specific counties across the country.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday changed the metrics it uses to assess Covid-19 risk by county across the U.S. Risk will now be assessed based on three factors, the CDC said: new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days; new Covid-19-related hospital admissions; and the percentage of hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients,” the Wall Street Journal wrote.
Per the CDC, people living in low-risk areas should “wear a mask based on your personal preference, informed by your personal level of risk.” Those in medium-level areas should always be masked and speak with their health-care providers about additional measures, such as distancing or testing before being near others indoors.
“For high-risk areas, the CDC said people should still wear a well-fitting mask inside in public, as well as in K-12 schools,” the Daily Wire wrote. “If someone is immunocompromised or at severe risk, they should “[w]ear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection.”
This is a change from the previous guidelines in that the CDC is only requiring mask-wearing in schools that area in high-risk locations.
These new guidelines, of course, are always subject to change.
“We need to be able to relax our layered prevention measures when things are looking up,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said. “And we need to be able to dial them again … should we have a new variant or surge.”
Added the Washington Post, “Officials said the framework would also provide individuals with an understanding of what precautions they should consider based on the level of disease in their community, their underlying risk, and their own risk tolerance.”