Indoor Masks, Mandated Vaccinations Expected for Many States as CDC Releases New Recommendations
Schools, hospitals and government agencies in states throughout the country gear up for new COVID-19 policies.
Whether it’s mandated by the state or federal government, or recommended by the CDC, many schools, hospitals and other industries throughout the country will likely implement strict mask-wearing and vaccination policies after several months of loose guidelines.
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced last week that healthcare workers will now be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or be tested weekly for the virus. It’s the first federal agency to do so, reports the Associated Press. The announcement came one day after nearly 60 leading healthcare organizations recommended healthcare facilities require their employees to get the vaccine.
An expert at the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) expects more states, schools and employers to mandate vaccinations as the Delta variant takes hold, representing about 83% of the new COVID-19 cases.
Tina Tan, a member of IDSA’s board of directors, said surveillance testing for COVID-19 would be difficult to implement in K-12 schools, reports Reuters.
“In the K-12 space, I do think that mask mandates … in the school setting should be enforced, because right now we know that kids under 12 can’t be vaccinated and only 30% of children between 12 and 17 have been fully vaccinated.”
The CDC echoed this sentiment by issuing on July 27 new recommendations that teachers, staff, students and visitors at schools nationwide, don masks, regardless of vaccination status. The CDC mask recommendations also apply to any public space in parts of the U.S. with at least 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week, reports the Associated Press. This includes 60% of U.S. counties, most of which are in the South and Southwest where new case rates are particularly high, according to the CDC.
Raising issue with the CDC’s recommendation that schools go back to indoor masking is Broward County in South Florida. A recent school board meeting during which mask wearing would be discussed, was postponed after about 20 anti-mask protestors refusing to wear them. They contacted Gov. Ron DeSanti, who threatened to go to board members’ homes to confront them.
“If we can’t be heard in public areas, and peacefully, we will go to where they are, and we will let them know how we feel about this, because we will not stand for children being masked for another year,” he said.