July 27, 2021 coronavirus news

By Melissa Mahtani, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes, Melissa Macaya and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 10:02 PM ET, Tue July 27, 2021
20 Posts
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3:48 p.m. ET, July 27, 2021

Here's a look at the level of Covid-19 community spread across the US

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidance on Tuesday to recommend that people who are fully vaccinated wear masks indoors if they are in areas with "substantial" or "high" transmission of Covid-19.

The level of community transmission of Covid-19 varies across the country but nearly half – 46% – of US counties currently have high transmission and 17% have "substantial" transmission, according to CDC data as of Tuesday morning.

Here's a look at a map of the country based on county-level data on the number of new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people and the test positivity rate during the past seven days, according to data from the CDC.

3:41 p.m. ET, July 27, 2021

Everyone should wear masks in schools, CDC director says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Everyone in and around schools should wear masks, even if they are fully vaccinated, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday. 

“In areas with substantial and high transmission, CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks in public indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and protect others,” Walensky told reporters in a telephone briefing. “This includes schools. CDC recommends that everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask indoors, including teachers, staff, students and visitors, regardless of vaccination status,” Walensky added. 

“With the Delta variant, vaccinating more Americans now is more urgent than ever. The highest spread of cases and severe outcomes is happening in places with low vaccination rates, and among unvaccinated people. This moment, and most importantly the associated illness, suffering and death, could have been avoided with higher vaccination coverage in this country.”

The CDC updated its masking recommendations Tuesday, saying even fully vaccinated people in areas with high or substantial Covid-19 transmission should resume wearing masks. Walensky said scientific evidence indicated that while vaccinated people are far less likely to become infected with Covid-19, with the Delta variant, they may be more able to transmit the virus to others than with earlier lineages of the virus.

3:25 p.m. ET, July 27, 2021

The vast majority of coronavirus transmission is by unvaccinated people, CDC director says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Most coronavirus transmission is coming from unvaccinated people, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday.

“We believe the vast majority of transmission is occurring in unvaccinated people and through unvaccinated people,” Walensky told reporters on a telephone briefing.

The CDC updated its masking recommendations Tuesday, saying even fully vaccinated people in areas with high or substantial Covid-19 transmission should resume wearing masks.

Walensky said the changes are meant to help protect children under the age of 12, who cannot be vaccinated against Covid-19, as well as immunosuppressed people whose immune systems may not fully protect them – even with vaccination.

“Part of the reason for this guidance is to make sure we can protect those,” Walensky said.
3:17 p.m. ET, July 27, 2021

Even fully vaccinated people can catch and spread the Delta variant, CDC director says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Even fully vaccinated people can become infected with the Delta variant of coronavirus, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday.

“In recent days I have seen new scientific data from recent outbreak investigations showing that that Delta variant behaves uniquely differently from past strains of the virus that cause Covid-19,” Walensky told a media briefing.

“This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations,” she said. 

Walensky said coronavirus vaccines reduced the risk of symptomatic infection seven-fold and reduced the risk of hospitalization by 20-fold. 

The CDC updated its masking recommendations Tuesday, saying people in areas with high or substantial Covid-19 transmission should resume wearing masks, regardless of their vaccination status.

3:05 p.m. ET, July 27, 2021

CDC recommends vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas of "substantial" and "high" Covid-19 spread

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

To prevent further spread of the Delta coronavirus variant, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidance on Tuesday to recommend that people who are fully vaccinated wear masks indoors if they are in areas with "substantial" or "high" transmission of Covid-19, which includes more than half of all US counties. 

Nearly half – 46% – of US counties currently have high transmission and 17% have "substantial" transmission, according to CDC data as of Tuesday morning.

In two states, Arkansas and Louisiana, every county is currently listed as having "high" levels of community transmission of Covid-19, according to CDC data. Several other states – including Missouri, Mississippi and Alabama – also have "high" transmission in nearly every county. In Florida, every county was listed with high transmission on Monday; as of Tuesday morning, one – Glades County – has substantial transmission

Meanwhile, the guidance for people who are unvaccinated remains the same: continue masking until they are fully vaccinated.

The CDC's latest guidance also recommends that community leaders encourage vaccination and mask-wearing to prevent further outbreaks in areas of substantial and high transmission. The agency recommends that local jurisdictions encourage universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.

Some background: Earlier this month, the CDC's Covid-19 school guidance noted that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks, and then about a week later the American Academy of Pediatrics issued stricter guidance recommending that everyone older than age 2 wear a mask in schools, regardless of vaccination their status. Now the updated CDC guidance recommends everyone in schools wear a mask.

The last time the CDC updated its mask guidance was two months ago, to say most people who are fully vaccinated could go without masks indoors. That guidance moved so quickly that administration officials were informed less than a day before – and many public health experts were taken by surprise. This time, the CDC's updated guidance has been expected for a few days.

As the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant continues to circulate across the United States, top federal health officials debated whether to issue new guidance on masks, meeting on Sunday night to review new data and evidence regarding the transmissibility of the variant and breakthrough cases among vaccinated people, according to a person familiar with the meeting.

The CDC emphasized on Tuesday that while some breakthrough cases have occurred, getting vaccinated still prevents severe illness, hospitalization and death. The CDC also noted that the highest spread of Covid-19 cases and severe outcomes is happening in areas with low vaccination rates and among people who are unvaccinated.

3:01 p.m. ET, July 27, 2021

Census survey shows most adults scaled back on preventative behaviors after getting vaccinated

From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips

More than half of vaccinated adults scaled back on prevention behaviors since getting a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the latest data from the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.

About 53% of vaccinated adults said that they “decreased prevention behaviors since getting a vaccine.” On the other hand, about 4% of vaccinated adults said that they “increased prevention behaviors since getting a vaccine” and about 43% said they made “no change.”

White people were the most likely to drop preventative behaviors, with 65% of adults saying that they “decreased prevention behaviors since getting a vaccine.”

Black people, on the other hand, were most likely to continue with the same preventative behaviors or more after getting a Covid-19 vaccine, with 75% of adults saying that they made no change or increased prevention behaviors since getting a Covid-19 vaccine. 

Adults with children in their household were more likely to keep the same prevention behaviors than those with no children in the house, according to the survey data.

Responses to the latest Household Pulse Survey were collected between June 23 and July 5. By that time, the Delta variant of the coronavirus had become the dominant strain in the US, accounting for more than 60% of cases.

 

2:58 p.m. ET, July 27, 2021

Soon: CDC will recommend universal masking in schools

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to recommend everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status, according to an administration health official.

The announcement from CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky will be made at 3 p.m. ET today.

The CDC will also urge all people to wear masks in areas with high Covid-19 transmission, according to sources familiar with the announcement. This decision comes as nearly two-thirds of US counties have high or substantial transmission of Covid-19, according to CDC data

The White House is hoping that the new guidance will give local officials "a lot of cover" to implement new mask mandates where appropriate.

Officials in Los Angeles County in California, Provincetown, Massachusetts, St. Louis, Missouri, and Savannah, Georgia, have already reinstated mask mandates because of rising Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations among Americans who have refused to get vaccinated.

CNN's Alyssa Kraus, Kaitlan Collins, John Harwood, Kevin Liptak, Jeremy Diamond and Kate Sullivan contributed to this post.

2:55 p.m. ET, July 27, 2021

Here are 5 ways to get your kids to wear masks

From CNN's Matt Villano

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to recommend that everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status, as it updates its masking guidelines in response to the more transmissible Delta variant, according to an administration health official.

We know that little humans pull and tug at the masks constantly, and kids don’t just stop there. They let the tops fall beneath their noses and sometimes even yank the things down below their mouths, just because they can.

Despite all these protests from children in countries where face coverings aren’t already part of the culture, masks are a must this fall, according to the CDC.

The CDC has already recommended that all kids over the age of 2 wear face coverings in indoor public places to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.

That means that now is the time to get kids back on board with the reality of masks in schools. We know kids around the world who already know how to wear masks — it’s simply part of their routine when they leave the house.

How do you get your child there? We’ve asked doctors, psychologists and parents for their best strategies for getting little ones to wear face coverings and keep them on.

Read their top five suggestions here.

2:39 p.m. ET, July 27, 2021

Infected vaccinated people carry the same Delta viral load as the unvaccinated, unpublished study shows 

From CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta

New unpublished data showing that vaccinated people infected with the Delta coronavirus variant can have as much virus as those who are unvaccinated is the primary driver for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest mask guidance change, according to a source involved with the process. Overall, vaccinated people still play a small role in transmission and breakthrough infections are rare. 

In addition, the source noted two other factors that led to this decision: the prevalence of Delta and low vaccine uptake. 

When the guidance was initially revised on May 13 for vaccinated people to unmask, Delta only represented 1% of reported infections. Now, according to the CDC, it represents at least 83% of cases. 

The source also noted that the country's overall level of vaccination is lower than what was initially expected and that most transmission is happening in areas with vaccination levels below 40% of the population.