The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines this week, according to which more than two-thirds of the country’s population will no longer be advised to wear masks.
The new recommendations, published on Friday, direct counties to assess their level of risk based on Covid-related hospitalizations, hospital capacity and local case rates. According to the CDC, only in counties where those criteria indicate high risk do people need to wear masks — and only about 30% of Americans live in counties where that’s currently happening.
“We want to help people put a pause on things like wearing masks when our levels are low, and then have the ability to reach them if things go wrong,” said Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the CDC. worse in the future,” said Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the CDC. “We need to be prepared, and we need to be ready for whatever comes next.”
Public reaction to this change has been mixed.
Some scientists say this is supported by a 65% drop in case rates over the past two weeks and back to pre-Omicron levels, although still very high by pre-Omicron standards. (As of Friday, the country reported an average of 72,754 new infections a day — and the number of deaths, after the number of infections a few weeks later, is still averaging more than 1,800 a day.) But many people are at risk. senior citizens, including Americans. disabled or chronically ill, fearing that comfortable precautions would put them at risk.
The CDC recommendations are not binding, and most states lifted or relaxed mask regulations before the agency confirmed doing so. But the new guidelines will likely push more individuals, including private business owners and employers, who set the rules for their employees and customers, to move in that direction. .
Here’s what else happened this week:
On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he intends to lift all of Britain’s remaining pandemic-related precautions, including regular contact tracing, free testing and the claim people must isolate if they test positive. He made the announcement a day after it was revealed that Queen Elizabeth II had tested positive for the virus. The Prime Minister presented the changes to England – which do not apply to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, which set their own health regulations – as a return to normal, but many at high risk said they would have to isolate themselves further.
A new study from the CDC shows that, of people who take a rapid antigen test 5 to 9 days after receiving a Covid diagnosis or develop Covid symptoms, more than half test positive. That raises questions about the agency’s isolation guidelines, which say many people with Covid can stop quarantining after five days without further testing.
After keeping the virus under control for two years, Hong Kong is experiencing a massive Covid wave that has overwhelmed hospitals and especially hit the elderly population hard. The carnage has exposed ways in which the city is complacent: Less than half of Hong Kong residents aged 70 and over were vaccinated prior to the Omicron outbreak, because the risk appeared to be low in It’s been a long time and officials have done little to combat vaccine misinformation. The leaders plan to require all seven million Hong Kong residents to be tested next month.
A U.S. trucker protest, planned as a mock-up version of recent protests against pandemic policies in Canada, left California on Wednesday en route to Canada. Washington, DC. , but many of them also have links to far-right groups involved in the January 6 riots.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/26/world/the-cdc-releases-new-masking-guidance-and-queen-elizabeth-tests-positive-the-week-in-covid-news.html CDC publishes new mask guidance and Queen Elizabeth tests positive: The Week in Covid news.