PROVIDENCE (WPRI/AP) ─ With COVID-19 cases surging both locally and nationally, many are wondering whether they should consider wearing face masks again.
The answer is yes. In places where virus cases are surging, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that vaccinated people return to wearing masks in public indoor places.
“Vaccinated folks should be wearing masks out of an abundance of caution,” Dr. Dani Hackner, chief clinical officer for Southcoast Health said.
The CDC recently announced the updated guidance, citing new evidence that vaccinated people who get breakthrough infections could carry enough virus in their noses and throats to infect others.
“We’re very concerned about folks who are young,” Hackner said. “Some of the kids are eligible for the vaccine and some are not because they are young.”
Hackner said he’s also concerned about those who are immunocompromised, regardless of their vaccination status.
“Be careful. Be cautious about what you do because you could become an asymptomatic spreader,” Hackner said.
COVID-19 vaccines greatly reduce the chance of severe illness and death and remain effective against variants, including the now predominant delta variant.
But it’s still possible to get infected, though the risk of severe complications is significantly lower.
In short, the vaccine protects you, while a mask protects others in case you are carrying the virus without knowing it.
The CDC suggests indoor masking in areas where transmission is substantial or high. You can find out your community’s transmission level by reviewing the CDC’s COVID-19 data tracker.
The federal health agency also recommends all teachers, staff, students and visitors wear masks inside school buildings, regardless of vaccination status.