Are Americans Ready To Go Maskless?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unveiled new community guidelines on Friday as the United States appeared to have entered a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic — one that is less dangerous and less restrictive than the previous months. With the public health agency’s new approach to the novel coronavirus, most Americans could finally ditch the masks even when in public places. 

COVID-19 Community Levels

The CDC launched a new tool on its website to help communities decide what prevention steps they should implement based on their latest local data. The tool shows the assigned level of each community, based on the occupied beds in their local hospitals, patient admissions, and the total number of cases. Communities are assigned low, medium, or high levels depending on the three factors. 

For high-level communities, residents are strongly encouraged to wear masks in public indoor spaces. They should also stay up to date with their vaccines and get tested if they manifest the symptoms. Additional precautions are recommended for people at high risk for severe illness in these areas. 

For medium-level communities, residents are advised to get tested if they have the symptoms and to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. People at high risk for severe illness are urged to talk to their doctor if they need to wear a mask and take other precautions in these areas. 

For low-level communities, residents are advised to get tested if they develop symptoms. They should also stay up to date with their vaccines. However, they are no longer required to wear masks even in public indoor places. 

Despite the designations, the CDC said that everyone is free to wear masks at any time if they want to. In addition, people with symptoms, tested positive for COVID, or exposed to someone with the virus should mask up to prevent further transmissions. 

New Classification Levels

Under the previous metrics of community transmission imposed by the CDC, almost all of the country was in the high level. With the new COVID guidance, more places have dropped to medium and low levels, allowing more people to live with fewer restrictions. 

The new classifications would make it possible for more people to deal with fewer restrictions and disruptions while going about their daily lives. They came at a time when more and more people have been demanding the easement of mask recommendations in a bid to return to normalcy. 

The CDC’s new approach was made possible after cases and hospitalizations in the United States significantly dropped. The numbers have already plummeted that the seven-day average of new cases already dropped to the lowest record since late October of last year, as per the Washington Post

Everyone in the U.S. can check their community level using the county check tool available on CDC’s website or by calling 800-232-4636. 

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